Pancreatic cancer is a rare but deadly disease.  Only about 1.5 percent of Americans will even come close to a diagnosis, but for those unfortunate ones who do, only six percent will live past the five year anniversary of that diagnosis. For those looking to reduce their risk, a healthy diet is a good bet.  According to the latest research, a healthy diet can decrease your risk for developing pancreatic cancer by 15 percent.

The study - which crunched data on more than 500,000 Americans, found that participants over age 50, men in particular, benefited from a high quality diet.  Researchers compiled data from the American Association for Retired Persons Diet and Health Study during which participants filled out diet questionnaires about how often they ate items on a list of 124 foods.  They ranked their diets using this information and then compared this data with state cancer registries and Social Security Administration data over a 10 year period to determine how many of the participants developed cancer.  

That number turned out to be 2,383.  Of those who did develop the disease, about 22 percent were among those with the unhealthiest diets while 19 percent had the healthiest diets.  That works out to a 15 percent lower risk for those who ate healthier foods.  For men, the numbers were even greater.  Men in the study who ate a healthier diet were 28 percent less likely to develop pancreatic cancer than their peers in the group who ate the least healthy diets.  The same effect was not noted for women.

"It is important to note that our findings are based on overall diet and not individual foods. A combination of many foods contributed to the observed association between greater compliance with the Dietary Guidelines and lower risk of pancreatic cancer," lead author Hannah Arem of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, told Reuters Health in an email.  

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