Study finds eating processed meat increases colorectal cancer risk in women
Scientists from the Division of the National Toxicology Program and the NIEHS intramural program reported that increased intake of processed meat and use of high temperature to cook red meats increased the risk of colorectal cancer in women. This study supported previous hazard assessments on processed meat and added information on colorectal cancer (CRC) risks associated with specific processed meat products and cooking practices.
Among 48,704 women in the Sister Study, followed for a median of 8.7 years, 216 developed CRC. Women in the highest quartile of processed meat consumption had a 50% increase in risk of CRC compared to women in the lowest quartile. Bacon was found to be associated with the highest risk of getting CRC, with a twofold increase in risk, followed by consumption of breakfast sausages. In terms of cooking practices reported for steaks and burgers, grilling/barbequing was associated with elevated risk of cancer.
Nitrates and nitrites used in curing processed meats are known to be mutagenic. Use of high heat and direct flame while cooking red meat may lead to formation of hydrocarbons, which can also increase chances of cancer-forming mutations. Information on associations between specific dietary factors and cancer risk may aid in CRC prevention. (PR)
Citation: Mehta SS, Arroyave WD, Lunn RM, Park YM, Boyd WA, Sandler DP. 2019. A prospective analysis of red and processed meat consumption and risk of colorectal cancer in women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev; doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-19-0459 [Online 1 October 2019].