Processed meat 'increases cancer risk'

07 March 2013

Eating processed meat could increase a person's risk of cancer diagnosis, according to a new study.

Research has shown that eating large quantities of ham, bacon, sausages and burgers can increase the likelihood of premature death and the development of cancer and heart disease.

Analysis of data from 448,568 people across ten European countries showed that high levels of meat consumption increased the risk of death from cancer by 11 per cent.

The biggest consumers of processed meat were also 44 per cent more likely to die prematurely from any cause.

However, researchers claim that eating less than 20g a day of processed meat can help to avoid fatalities.

Nontheless Dr Carrie Ruxton, a nutritionist who sits on the meat industry-funded Meat Advisory Panel, told the Guardian that the findings do not yet warrant changing public health advice.

"The occasional bacon butty isn't going to do you much harm," she said. "People shouldn't avoid bacon or salami because they think it's going to kill them, because it won't."

Nonetheless, with large quantities of processed meat known to increase obesity - a common risk factor for cancer - people should always be aware of their diet.

Researchers in the US recently found that a high body mass index increased the risk of CTNNB1-negative colorectal cancer - a form of bowel cancer.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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