Regional Cancer Center ~ Erie, PA

Study Finds Link Between Processed Meats, Red Meat & Cancer

Oct 28, 2015 | Posted in Eating Smarter: Tips and Recipes, News

Red and processed meat products are linked to cancer, according to a report from the World Health Organization October 27, 2015 in Lancet Oncology. Researchers from around the world examined more than 800 studies looking at the cancer-causing properties of red and processed meats. The authors highlighted a meta-analysis that found a 17 percent increase in risk for colon cancer per 100 grams of red meat consumed and an 18 percent increase risk with 50 grams of processed meat consumed, and ultimately concluded that they are “probably carcinogenic to humans” and “carcinogenic to humans,” respectively. Researchers also observed associations between red and processed meat products and stomach, pancreatic, and prostate cancers. Processing and other cooking methods for meat, including curing, pan-frying, and smoking, produce various carcinogenic chemicals.

RCC's registered dietician, Karen Schnaekel says while processed meats should be avoided, red meat should just be limited, "If we keep our levels (of red meat) below 18 ounces a week, we're not really increasing our risk for colon cancer," said Schnaekel. "As far as the processed meats, those are another story. Those we really know increase our risk at any amount, so we should really try to avoid the processed meats all together," Schnaekel added.

Source: Bouvard V, Loomis D, Guyton KZ, et al. Carcinogenicity of consumption of red and processed meat. Lancet Oncology. Published online October 26, 2015.

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