Eating Processed Meat May Cause Pancreatic Cancer

February 8, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. processed (adj.) 
[pros-est] – prepared through an artificial or unnatural process
ExampleProcessed cheese contains chemicals that make them smoother and tastier.

2. analyze (v.) [an-l-ahyz] – to examine something carefully and in detail
Example: Crime experts analyzed the evidence presented by the lawyers.

3. consume (v.) [kuhn-soom] – to eat or drink, especially in large quantity
Example: He feels sick because he consumed a lot of snacks before dinner.

4. secrete (v.) [si-kreet] – to produce and release something (usually liquids)
Example: Skunks secrete a very bad smelling liquid when threatened by attackers.

5. heighten (v.) [hahyt-n] – to increase the level or amount of something; to make more extreme or intense
Example:  A lion’s senses are heightened when hunting for food.

Read the text below.

Eating processed meat such as sausages and bacon increases the risk of getting pancreatic cancer, researchers from Sweden suggest. Although there are other causes linked to pancreatic cancer, health experts say that avoiding processed meat altogether would be best.

Professor Susanna Larsson from the Karolinska Institute conducted the research by analyzing data from 6,643 patients with pancreatic cancer. The study found that consuming an additional 50 grams of processed meat every day--about one sausage a day--increases the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by 19%. Having 100 grams a day increases the risk to 38%.

The pancreas is the body organ behind the stomach that secretes digestive chemicals into the intestines to help breakdown food.. Although developing cancer in the pancreas is rare, very few people survive it. This is why Professor Larsson says that knowing what can heighten the risk of the disease is as important as diagnosing it early.

However, other cancer research organizations believe that further research about the link between processed meat and pancreatic cancer needs to be done.  So far, experts have identified other possible risk factors of the disease such as obesity and smoking.

But Doctor Rachel Thompson, from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), says processed meat should still be avoided, because a strong link between another cancer, bowel cancer, and eating red and processed meat has already been established. Doctor Thompson and WCRF advise people to eat only 500 grams of red meat a week, and to avoid processed meat completely.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

     Why do you think processed foods are popular in some parts of the world? Do you think people can give up eating them?
     If people cannot give up eating processed food, how do you think they should keep themselves healthy?

Discussion B

     Would you avoid eating your favorite food if you find out that it might cause a certain disease? Please explain your answer.
     What are the ways one can do to stop eating unhealthy food?


February 8, 2012