Eating more red and processed meats linked to greater risk for bowel and lung cancer

December 11, 2007

In a study released today, people whose red meat intake was in the top fifth of the range of intakes recorded in the study had an increased risk of developing colorectal, liver, lung and esophageal cancer when compared to people in the lowest fifth of consumption.

New findings provide evidence that people who eat a lot of red and processed meats have greater risk of developing bowel and lung cancer than people who eat small quantities. The research by Amanda Cross and colleagues at the US National Cancer Institute is published in the latest issue of PLoS Medicine.

The researchers used data from a large US diet and health study, which began in 1995 and involves nearly half a million men and women aged 50-71. Participants–none of whom had had cancer previously–completed a questionnaire about their dietary habits over the previous year. People whose red meat intake was in the top fifth of the range of intakes recorded in the study had an increased risk of developing colorectal, liver, lung and esophageal cancer when compared to people in the lowest fifth of consumption. People in the highest fifth of processed meat intake had an increased risk of developing colorectal and lung cancer. The incidences of other cancers were largely unaffected by meat intake.

These results provide evidence that people who eat a lot of red and processed meats have greater risk of developing colorectal and lung cancer than people who eat small quantities. They also indicate that a high red meat intake is associated with an increased risk of esophageal and liver cancer and that 1 in 10 colorectal and 1 in 10 lung cancers could be avoided if people reduced their red and processed meat intake to the lowest quintile.

http://www.sciencedaily.com­

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