LIFESTYLE

Pancreatic Cancer Prevention: Eating Nuts Could Reduce Risk By Up To One Third

20/02/2014 11:18 GMT | Updated 20/02/2014 11:59 GMT

Eating nuts regularly may ward off pancreatic cancer, which is one of the most deadly forms of the disease.

Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health claim that consuming just a few handfuls per week could reduce a person's cancer risk by up to one third.

Pancreatic cancer affects around 8,000 people in Britain per year and has an infamously high mortality rate - two of the most famous sufferers are Steve Jobs and Patrick Swayze, both of whom died from the disease.

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The cancer's low survival figures are often attributed to late diagnosis and "vague" symptoms.

Nick Maisey, consultant oncologist at London Bridge Hospital says: "It is very common that patients have incurable ‘metastatic’ disease (ie secondaries) already by the time the diagnosis is established, because the symptoms can often be very vague, eg weight loss, loss of appetite, mild abdominal pain. Approximately 80 to 90% of new cases have inoperable disease."

While there have been previous studies into the anti-cancer properties of nuts, Harvard's study looks specifically at the food's link pancreatic cancer.

Researchers sampled data of more than 75,000 women from the Nurses' Health Study - a long-running investigation into the health of thousands of female nurses in the US.

They study analysed the link between pancreatic cancer and nut consumption.

The findings revealed that women who ate a handful of nuts two or more times per week had a 35% lower pancreatic

cancer risk, compared to those who did not eat nuts.

These benefits were also found when other factors were not controlled.

The researchers said: "Frequent nut consumption is inversely associated with the risk of pancreatic cancer, independent of other potential risk factors for the disease."