Study: Processed Meat Raises Colorectal Cancer Risk
April 17, 2014
Many studies have shown that eating too much red meat is bad for your health; but, a new study has found that eating processed meat significantly increases the risk of colorectal cancer in some people.Eating five or more servings per week of processed meat more than doubles the risk of colorectal cancer in people who have certain variants of a specific gene, according to Jane Figueiredo of the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine. Colorectal cancer is a leading form of cancer disease and death worldwide.
The findings are based on a meta-analysis of 10 earlier studies involving 18,000 people in the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe, which looked at the health effects of eating meats that contain nitrates as preservatives.
“It’s anything that is cured, dried, smoked, cooked [or] packaged. And so the most common items around the countries we were studying would include bacon, ham, hot dogs, sausages, pate, cold cuts,” said Figueiredo.
The scientists compared the blood samples of some 9,000 people with colorectal cancer to 9,000 people without the disease, looking at one particular region of the genome. Colorectal cancer is a complex illness with some 30 genetic variations tied to an increased risk of developing it.
The researchers found the people with two of the genetic variants that were the focus of the study, and who ate processed meats almost every day, had the highest risk for colorectal cancer.