Research shows that eating one sausage a day or two rashers of bacon may raise the risk of pancreatic cancer by a fifth.
Scientists have found that even relatively small amounts of processed meat increase the chance of developing this deadly illness.
Pancreatic cancer is called ‘the silent killer’ because it often does not produce symptoms in early stages. Even when it does, the symptoms are often vague – such as back pain, loss of appetite and weight loss.
By the time the disease is diagnosed it is often too late and, because of this, it has one of the worst survival rates of all cancers and only 3 per cent of patients live beyond five years.
Little is known about its causes other than that smoking, excess alcohol and being overweight all seem to contribute.
Now scientists in Sweden have found that eating just 50g of processed meat a day raises the likelihood by 19 per cent.
This is equivalent to a few slices of ham or salami, a hot dog or sausage or two slices of bacon.
Eating 100g a day – a small burger – increases the risk by 38 per cent while 150g a day raises it by 57 per cent.
Ordinary red meat such as joints or steaks increases a man’s chance of getting the cancer, but not a woman’s.
But the risk posed by eating meat was substantially lower than for smoking, which was found to increase the likelihood of pancreatic cancer by 74 per cent.