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Does Coffee Cause Pancreatic Cancer

Coffee And Cancer: What The Research Really Shows

Does Coffee Cause Cancer?! | Registered Dietitian

Researchers have been investigating the links between coffee and cancer for decades. But there is still a lot they dont know. In 2016, an expert panel convened by the International Agency for Research on Cancer the arm of the World Health Organization that is responsible for assessing whether certain substances cause cancer could not conclude that drinking coffee is carcinogenic based on the current evidence available.

And now the coffee-cancer connection is in the news again. A California court ruling last week about a coffee warning related to a chemical formed during the roasting process has raised questions among consumers.

So, what do coffee drinkers need to know? In this interview, American Cancer Society researchers, Susan Gapstur, PhD, and , ScD, provide insights into what studies to date really show when it comes to coffee and cancer, and discuss what other research is still needed.

Q. What does the research show about the link between coffee and cancer?

A. Numerous studies have shown that coffee drinking is associated with a lower risk of dying from all causes of death. However, associations with cancer overall or with specific types of cancer are unclear. In 2016, an expert working group convened for the International Agency for Research on Cancer Monographs Programme reviewed the worlds body of human and laboratory research on coffee drinking and cancer risk, and they found the evidence of carcinogenicity of coffee drinking to be unclassifiable.

Signs And Symptoms Of Exocrine Pancreatic Cancer

Unfortunately, by the time it causes symptoms, exocrine pancreatic cancer has usually already spread outside the pancreas. The main signs and symptoms of exocrine pancreatic cancer may include:

  • A loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Stomach or back pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Non-functioning neuroendocrine tumors

Can Pancreatic Divisum Cause Cancer

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Similarly, you may ask, is pancreas Divisum dangerous?

Pancreas divisum can lead to recurrent or acute pancreatitis, which is painful and can lead to malnutrition. It occurs when the narrow pancreatic duct becomes blocked as the digestive juices find it difficult to drain into the small intestine.

Secondly, how rare is pancreatic Divisum? Pancreatic divisum is a congenital anomaly occurring in 4-14% of the population . When this occurs, the majority of the pancreas drains through the dorsal duct, also referred to as the duct of Santorini, into the minor papilla .

Herein, can pancreas Divisum be corrected?

Most people with pancreas divisum have no symptoms, so no treatment is required. For the people with this condition who do have symptoms, treatment options may be challenging. A surgeon may recommend a Puestow procedure or sphincterotomy.

How is pancreatic Divisum treated?

Treatment. Pancreas divisum in individuals with no symptoms does not require treatment. Treatment of those with symptoms varies and has not been well established. A surgeon may attempt a Puestow procedure or sphincterotomy by cutting the minor papilla to enlarge the opening and allow pancreatic enzymes to flow normally

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Risk Factors For Pancreatic Cancer

A risk factor is something that increases the risk of developing cancer. It could be a behaviour, substance or condition. Most cancers are the result of many risk factors. But sometimes pancreatic cancer develops in people who dont have any of the risk factors described below.

Precancerous conditions of the pancreas include mucinous cystic neoplasm and intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm . They arent cancer, but they can sometimes become pancreatic cancer if they arent treated. Some of the risk factors for pancreatic cancer may also cause these precancerous conditions. Find out more about .

Risk factors are generally listed in order from most to least important. But in most cases, it is impossible to rank them with absolute certainty.

Research shows that there is no link between coffee and a higher risk for pancreatic cancer.

Identification Of Pancreatic Cancer Cases

Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Penguin Ribbon

In both cohorts, participants were asked to report specified medical conditions including cancers that were diagnosed in the 2-year period between each follow-up questionnaire. Whenever a participant reported a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, we asked for permission to obtain related medical records or pathology reports. If permission to obtain records was denied, we attempted to confirm the self-reported cancer with an additional letter or phone call to the participant. If the primary cause of death as reported by a death certificate was a previously unreported pancreatic cancer case, we contacted a family member to obtain permission to retrieve medical records or at least to confirm the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. In the participants included in these analyses, 130 new cases of pancreatic cancer were diagnosed in the HPFS between 1986 and 1998, and 158 pancreatic cancer cases were diagnosed in the NHS between 1980 and 1996.

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Gallbladder Or Liver Enlargement

If the cancer blocks the bile duct, bile can build up in the gallbladder, making it larger. Sometimes a doctor can feel this during a physical exam. It can also be seen on imaging tests.

Pancreatic cancer can also sometimes enlarge the liver, especially if the cancer has spread there. The doctor might be able to feel the edge of the liver below the right ribcage on an exam, or the large liver might be seen on imaging tests.

Possible Health Risks Of Coffee

A number of studies have linked coffee consumption to health problems, including:

  • Bladder and pancreatic cancer. Studies performed more than 30 years ago suggested a potential link between coffee consumption and cancers of the bladder, pancreas, and possibly others. Since then, better research has largely refuted these concerns. In fact, some of the older studies raising red flags about a cancer link have since been used as examples of fishing expeditions and weak research methodology.
  • Esophageal cancer. In a 2016 report, the WHO raised concerns that drinking coffee at temperatures higher than 149° F may increase the risk of esophageal cancer. However, this is not unique to coffee. And drinking coffee at such high temperatures is unusual among most coffee drinkers in the US.
  • Cardiovascular disease. Studies linking coffee consumption to cardiovascular disease have mostly observed it with higher consumption , and some of these studies did not account for smoking, which often accompanies coffee consumption and is, of course, an important cardiovascular disease risk factor on its own. Other concerns include modest and temporary elevations in blood pressure, and fast or abnormal heart rhythms.
  • Bothersome, but mostly minor, side effects. The caffeine in coffee can impair sleep, cause a speedy or jittery feeling, and even cause anxiety. Heartburn, frequent urination , and palpitations are problematic for some coffee drinkers.

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Highest Versus Lowest Drinking Category

As various measurement units for coffee consumption were used in the included studies, we just considered to compare the highest coffee consumption category with lowest coffee consumption category, and take the latter as the reference category.

The overall RR for highest coffee consumption versus lowest coffee consumption was 0.75 . Statistic significant heterogeneity was found among these studies . Neither Eggers test nor Begg test indicated a significant publication bias .

Beggs funnel plot for publication bias.

Obesity And Physical Inactivity

Does coffee cause cancer?

Being overweight and having little physical activity are also risk factors for pancreatic cancer. Several studies suggest a link, with many specifically pointing to an individuals body mass index .

In a 2010 study in Cancer Causes & Control, researchers noted an increase in pancreatic cancer risk related with BMI. Compared with a person of standard weight , an individual with a BMI from 25 to less than 30 had a 13 percent increased risk of pancreatic cancer. A person with a BMI of 30 to less than 35 had a 19 percent increased risk.

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Can A Blood Test Reveal Pancreatic Cancer

While a blood test may reveal an increase of certain substances associated with pancreatic cancer, it does not allow for early detection of the disease, because the levels of these chemicals dont increase until the advanced stages of pancreatic cancer.


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What Is Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the pancreas when cells start to grow out of control. The most prevalent type of pancreatic cancer is pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

The pancreas has two main types of cells, exocrine cells, and endocrine cells. The exocrine and endocrine cells of the pancreas develop different types of tumors.

If you were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, it is vital to know whether it is exocrine cancer or endocrine cancer , because these two types of pancreatic cancer have different causes and risk factors. They also have different signs and symptoms, require different treatments, and have different prognoses. Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumor is a less common type of pancreatic cancer.

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What Are The Stages Of Pancreatic Cancer

After the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, doctors will use staging to determine if it has spread, and if so, how far. Staging is a way of describing the location of the tumor and where/if it has spread. Knowing the stage of pancreatic cancer helps the doctor decide on the type of treatment and helps predict a patients prognosis. To determine pancreatic cancer, doctors divide it into four categories depending on whether it can be removed with surgery and where it has spread. These four categories include:

  • Resectable Pancreatic Cancer
  • Resectable pancreatic cancer can be surgically removed as there is no evidence that the tumor has spread to areas outside of the pancreas.

  • Borderline Resectable
  • While the tumor may be difficult or impossible to remove surgically, chemo and radiotherapy may be able to shrink the tumor, which then doctors can remove.

  • Locally Advanced
  • The tumor is still in the area around the pancreas, but it cannot be surgically removed because it has grown into surrounding organs, arteries, or veins. About 40 percent of patients are diagnosed with this stage of pancreatic cancer.

  • Metastatic
  • The tumor has spread beyond the pancreas area and to other organs. Approximately 45 to 55 percent of patients are diagnosed with the metastatic stage.

    Family History And Genetic Predisposition Syndromes

    Does Drinking Coffee Increase Survival of Patients With ...

    Up to 10 percent of all pancreatic cancers may result from genetic mutations passed from parent to child, according to ACS. Patients with a family history fall into two big categories: defined syndromes that lead to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer, or familial pancreatic cancer for which no specific molecular cause has yet been identified.

    A few genetic syndromes that may cause pancreatic cancer include:

    • Familial atypical multiple mole melanoma syndrome
    • Familial pancreatitis
    • Peutz-Jeghers syndrome

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    Jaundice And Related Symptoms

    Jaundice is yellowing of the eyes and skin. Most people with pancreatic cancer will have jaundice as one of their first symptoms.

    Jaundice is caused by the buildup of bilirubin, a dark yellow-brown substance made in the liver. Normally, the liver releases a liquid called bile that contains bilirubin. Bile goes through the common bile duct into the intestines, where it helps break down fats. It eventually leaves the body in the stool. When the common bile duct becomes blocked, bile cant reach the intestines, and the amount of bilirubin in the body builds up.

    Cancers that start in the head of the pancreas are near the common bile duct. These cancers can press on the duct and cause jaundice while they are still fairly small, which can sometimes lead to these tumors being found at an early stage. But cancers that start in the body or tail of the pancreas dont press on the duct until they have spread through the pancreas. By this time, the cancer has often spread beyond the pancreas.

    When pancreatic cancer spreads, it often goes to the liver. This can also cause jaundice.

    There are other signs of jaundice as well as the yellowing of the eyes and skin:

    Pancreatic cancer is not the most common cause of jaundice. Other causes, such as gallstones, hepatitis, and other liver and bile duct diseases, are much more common.

    A New Move By The Who And Others

    In a , the WHO officially lifted coffee from the list of potentially carcinogenic foods. It went on to designate coffee as potentially protective against cancer of the uterus and liver.

    And the WHO is not the only organization to include coffee in its list of foods that are probably harmless and possibly healthy. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee thoroughly reviewed the evidence and declared that moderate coffee consumption can be incorporated into a healthy dietary pattern And the World Cancer Research Fund International concluded that coffee consumption was linked with a lower risk of several types of cancer.

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    Coffee And Disorders Of Other Intestinal Organs


    The gallbladder stores bile, a fluid which is released into the small intestine where it emulsifies fats and assists their digestion. Gallstones are deposits that form in the gallbladder and in a minority of cases trigger severe abdominal pain which can cause the gallbladder to become inflamed and lead to gallbladder disease.

    • Two major prospective cohort studies consistently show an inverse association between coffee consumption and the risk of symptomatic gallstones26,27. Other studies suggest that the effect of coffee may vary depending on the progression of the gallbladder disease28.

    Coffee and caffeine appear to trigger the contraction of the gallbladder and may prevent small crystals becoming large gallstones early in the disease29. However, if large gallstones are already present, such contraction of the gallbladder may cause pain. There is some evidence to suggest that coffee exerts its effect through caffeine, but further studies are required to confirm this hypothesis26-29.

    Further detailed information is available in the Gallstones section of the Coffee and Health website here.


    Studies looking at the relationship between coffee consumption and risk of liver cancer suggest an inverse association.

    Further detailed information is available in the Liver section of the Coffee and Health website here.


    Further detailed information is available in the Cancer section of the Coffee and Health website here.

    Study Links Coffee Use To Pancreas Cancer

    Can coffee cause cancer?
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    A statistical link between the drinking of coffee and cancer of the pancreas, the fourth most common cause of cancer deaths among Americans, was reported yesterday by scientists of the Harvard School of Public Health. The discovery was unexpected, and its significance is not yet clear.

    ”If it reflects a causal relation between coffee drinking and pancreatic cancer,” the report said, ”coffee use might account for a substantial proportion of the cases of this disease in the United States.”

    The findings need to be pursued with further research, said the report in today’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

    Researcher Quit Using Coffee

    Although the statistical association does not prove that coffee causes cancer, Dr. Brian MacMahon of Harvard, leader of the research group, said he stopped drinking coffee a few months ago when the results of the study became clear. In a telephone interview, he said that he would not presume to advise others.

    The authors of the report estimated that more than half of the pancreatic cancer cases that occurred in the United States might be attributable to coffee drinking if their sample of cancer patients and other persons reflected the coffee-drinking habits of the general public.

    Some cancers take decades to develop to the point of being detectable thus, a link between coffee and cancer might not reflect the decline of the last 20 years.

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    Foods And Drinks To Avoid

    Caffeine doesn’t need to be avoided, unless otherwise stated by your doctor, but there are other beverages you should limit to prevent pancreas complications. “Most definitely, patients with pancreatitis should avoid alcohol and drinks which can exacerbate the condition or tax an already stressed organ system,” Dr. Childs says.

    A January 2017 review published in Alcohol Research noted some interesting findings in the body of research on alcohol and your pancreas. Studies have:

    • Historically associated 60 to 90 percent ofchronic pancreatitis cases with alcohol use,but some newer studies have shown a lowerpercentage.
    • Shownthat heavy drinkers had a 40 percent increased risk of pancreaticdisease.
    • Shown thatdrinkers who consumed more than three drinks per day had around a 20percent increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

    The pancreas can get aggravated by certain foods as well. “High fat and fried foods as well as simple sugars can increase the fat in the bloodstream, which may increase the risk of pancreatitis,” Dr. Childs says. She lists foods that fit in this category as:

    • Food fried in oil orfats, such as french fries.
    • Potato or tortilla chips.
    • Full-fat dairy products.
    • Pastries and doughnuts.

    The American Cancer Society backs up Dr. Childs, stating that sugary drinks, diets with red and processed meats and high saturated fat intake may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.

    What Exactly Is The Pancreas

    Your pancreas is a large gland that produces enzymes and hormones that assist in the digestion of food. Its located deep in your abdomen.

    Part of your pancreas sits between your stomach and your spine, and the other part rests against the curve of the first part of your small intestine .

    The position of the pancreas makes it extremely difficult to be felt by pressing on the abdomen .

    This is a primary reason why a tumor can often grow undetected until the symptoms of pancreatic cancer appear. Pancreatic cancer can interfere with the function of the pancreas or other nearby organs, such as the gallbladder, stomach or liver.

    • pain in your upper abdomen or back
    • unintended weight loss

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