Individuals who consumed two or more sugary soft drinks per week experienced a statistically significant increased risk of pancreatic cancer when compared with individuals who did not consume soft drinks, according to the results of a study conducted in Singapore and published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer. Each year, approximately 37,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the United States and more than 34,000 die from the disease. The five-year survival rate is less than 5%. Pancreatic cancer is often in advanced stages when it is diagnosed, and research continues to focus on prevention and early detection.
Researchers in Singapore followed 60,524 men and women enrolled in the Singapore Chinese Health Study. They collected information about diet, lifestyle, and environmental exposure and followed the subjects for 14 years. During that time, 140 people developed pancreatic cancer.
The data indicated that individuals who drank two or more sweetened soft drinks per week had an 87% higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer than those who did not drink soda. People who consumed fruit juice did not appear to have the same risk for the disease.
The reasons for this link are unclear, but some researchers have theorized that a high sugar intake can fuel some types of cancer. However, soda consumption is sometimes linked with other unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking or red meat consumption, and therefore, there may be other factors involved.
Research will likely continue to examine the link between soda consumption and pancreatic cancer. In the meantime, limiting sugary soft drink consumption might be wise.
 Mueller NT, Odegaard A, Anderson K, et al. Soft drink and juice consumption and risk of pancreatic cancer: The Singapore Chinese Health Study. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, & Prevention. 2010; 19:447-455.