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Meditalk: Can softdrinks cause pancreatic cancer?

DEAR Dr. Fritz,

Good day to you. I am Karen. I love softdrinks. But, I am quite alarmed as my friend told me that this can cause pancreatic cancer. How true is this? Thanks and God bless you more.

Karen of Baganga


Dear Karen of Baganga,

Well, I can't blame your friend. Probably, she had read the news about a certain study that shows drinking as little as two softdrinks a week appears to nearly double the risk or an 87 percent increased risk of getting pancreatic cancer.

The truth is, previous studies have produced mixed conclusions about whether consumption of softdrinks boosts the risk of pancreatic cancer. This is why Mueller and his colleagues of Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C., evaluated 60,524 men and women enrolled in the Singapore Chinese Health Study, which begun in 1993, for up to 14 years, looking at their diet and whether they got cancer.

In the end, they found no link was found between juices and pancreatic cancer risk. However, there was a link with sugary sodas. And they believe that the sugar in the softdrinks is increasing the insulin level in the body, which contributed to pancreatic cancer cell growth. This increase in insulin is what may be leading to the development of the cancer.

Even though this new study has limitations, the findings do echo those of previous studies in 2007 that found out an association between added sugars in the diet and pancreatic cancer risk. In that study, they found a positive association between high intake of fructose and pancreatic cancer. Remember that high-fructose corn syrup is the main sweetener in non-diet softdrinks. That is some red flag there. Thus, these findings and that of the present study are quite consistent. So, that should make you think twice about drinking soft drinks quite often.

Good luck!

Dr. Fritz

(Dr. Fritz Legarde Espedilla is an aesthetic dermatologist and surgeon and a clinical sexologist. She is also trained in hypnotherapy and Medical Acupuncture. She has been in the broadcast media for more than a decade and has written a book based on her 15 year stint with her radio program, "Healthy is Sexy Secrets ni Dr. Fritz." She is the program host of Secrets with Dr. Fritz over For your questions, you may e-mail them to If you don't wish your letter to be published, we regret that we cannot answer them. Thank you for your understanding.)

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