World Health Organization Affirms Link Between Processed Meat and Colon Cancer

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Earlier this week, the World Health Organization issued a report that highlights a link between processed meats such as bacon, ham and hot dogs, and increased risk for colon cancer.

The study groups processed meats with smoking tobacco and exposure to asbestos in terms of impact on cancer risk. Researchers first established the link between processed meats and colon cancer many years ago, but this is the first time the World Health Organization has published its own report on the topic.

The report comes after an international panel of health experts concluded that there is "sufficient evidence" to suggest that processed meats cause cancer, and that consumption of red meat likely increases cancer risk as well. However, the panel notes that the increase in risk is relatively small, so people need not be overly concerned.

The committee that issued the report is called the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and consists of 22 public health, cancer and other experts from 10 countries. This committee advises the World Health Organization on the environmental and lifestyle factors that may contribute to cancer.

The research has spurred a wide range of reactions from the public. In a statement following the report, Barry Carpenter, the President and CEO of the North American Meat Institute, said, "Scientific evidence shows cancer is a complex disease not caused by single foods and that a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle choices are essential to good health." You can read the full press release here.

CNN reported a general tone of smugness among vegetarians on Twitter at the discover of the new research report.

It is important to get the dialogue started about various lifestyle factors that can increase your risk for colon cancer. For more information, check out this blog post on Colon Cancer Risk Factors.

Other News From Around the Web

  • Research shows that colon cancer patients who have a heart stent may face a delay in surgery to treat their colorectal cancer.
  • This video news piece from Grand Rapids, Michigan encourages you to know your individual risk for colon cancer.
  • A newly discovered gene may predict the recurrence of colorectal cancer.

Image Source: Steven Depolo via Flickr

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Topics: Colon Cancer News