Get Screened Blog

Gene Variant Increases Colon Cancer Risk For Processed Meat Consumers


A new study published in PLOS Genetics suggests people with a common genetic variant who consume processed meat are at increased risk for colon cancer.

The study, led by Jane Figueiredo, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, examined over 18,000 people from the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia to research the link between processed meat consumption and colon cancer.

The genetic variant responsible for this increase in risk is common--it affects 1 in 3 people. Simply put, eating processed meat is associated with an increased risk of colon cancer, and for about a third of the general population who carry this genetic variant, the risk of eating processed meat is even higher compared to those who do not.

"Diet is a modifiable risk factor for colorectal cancer. Our study is the first to understand whether some individuals are at higher or lower risk based on their genomic profile," Dr. Figueiredo said. "This information can help us better understand the biology and maybe in the future lead to targeted prevention strategies."

The study reaffirms the importance of diet in the prevention of colon cancer. High intake of red and processed meat and low intake of fruits, vegetables and fiber are associated with a higher risk, which means that a few positive dietary changes can significantly lower colon cancer risk.

Check out our Meatless Monday post for ideas on healthy, meat-free meal alternatives.

Other News From Around the Web

  • A local news anchor from Palm Springs, California, diagnosed with colon cancer at age 28, goes on camera during his colonoscopy to dispel daunting rumors that deter people from undergoing the procedure in hopes of increasing screening rates.
  • Interesting article on colon cancer survival rates for Hispanics compared to non-Hispanic whites and Asians, and how low screening rates may contribute their low survival rates.
  • Another local news station includes a video segment on colonoscopy and the importance of early detection.
  • A nice story on one woman's determination to get the word out about the Undy 5000 (sponsored by our friends at Colon Cancer Alliance) in honor of her late mother.
  • More support for early colon cancer screening and how it helps save lives

Image source: TheBusyBrain via


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Topics: Colon Cancer News