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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 November 2006, 12:35 GMT
Sugary drinks link to cancer risk
Carbonated drinks
High-sugar drinks was found increase cancer risk
Drinking two sugary drinks a day almost doubles the risk of pancreatic cancer, a study suggests.

The Swedish researchers linked too much sugar, in fizzy drinks or added to tea and coffee to the increased risk.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition research looked at 80,000 men and women between 1997 and 2005 - 131 of whom developed pancreatic cancer.

But UK experts said more research was needed to quantify the actual risk of drinking sugary drinks.

We know that a person's diet has a significant effect on their risk of several types of cancer including pancreatic cancer
Henry Scowcroft, Cancer Research UK

Pancreatic cancer is a deadly form of the disease which is difficult to treat.

Just over 7,100 people are diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas each year in the UK.

Up to a third of cases are linked to smoking.

It is most common in people aged over 60. It is difficult to treat because it is often not diagnosed until it has spread beyond the pancreas.

Rates falling

The researchers, from the Karolinska Institute also found that the risk of developing pancreatic cancer was 70% higher for those who added sugar to their drinks at least five times a day.

Susanna Larsson, one of the researchers involved in the study, said: "Despite the fact that the chances of developing pancreatic cancer are relatively small, it's important to learn more about the risk factors behind the disease.

"It is perhaps the most serious form of cancer, with very poor prognosis for its victims.

"Since it's difficult to treat and is often discovered too late, it's particularly important that we learn to prevent it."

Henry Scowcroft, science information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: "The latest figures show that pancreatic cancer rates fell by 5% between 1997 and 2003.

"But this is probably because more people are giving up smoking which is the major established cause of the disease.

"We know that a person's diet has a significant effect on their risk of several types of cancer including pancreatic cancer.

"This report highlights the need for further research to understand the specific effect of sugar intake on pancreatic cancer risk."

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