According to a report in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers &
Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer
Research, consuming two or more soft drinks per week
increased the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by nearly
twofold compared to individuals who did not consume soft
Although relatively rare, pancreatic cancer remains one of the
most deadly; Only 5 percent of people who are diagnosed are
alive five years later.
Mark Pereira, Ph.D., senior author on the study and associate
professor in the School of Public Health at the University of
Minnesota, said people who consume soft drinks on a regular
basis, defined as primarily carbonated sugar-sweetened
beverages, tend to have a poor behavioral profile overall.
However, the effect of these drinks on pancreatic cancer may
“The high levels of sugar in soft drinks may be increasing the
level of insulin in the body, which we think contributes to
pancreatic cancer cell growth,” said Pereira.
For the study, a research team followed 60,524 men and women
in the Singapore Chinese Health Study for 14 years. During that
time, there were 140 pancreatic cancer cases. Those who
consumed two or more soft drinks per week (averaging five per
week) had an 87 percent increased risk compared with individuals
who did not.
No association was seen between fruit juice consumption and
The researchers noted, although the study was conducted in
Singapore, the results are likely applicable to the United States.
“Singapore is a wealthy country with excellent health care. Favorite
pastimes are eating and shopping, so the findings should apply to
other western countries,” they explained.
These study results are intriguing but have some key limitations
that should be considered in any interpretation.
“Although this study found a risk, the finding was based on a
relatively small number of cases and it remains unclear whether
it is a causal association or not. Soft drink consumption in
Singapore was associated with several other adverse health
behaviors such as smoking and red meat intake, which we can’t
accurately control for,” explained an editorial board member of
Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
Journal Reference: Soft Drink and Juice Consumption and Risk
of Pancreatic Cancer: The Singapore Chinese Health Study
Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention