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News Article | May 23, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

WASHINGTON, DC -- Drinking just one glass of wine or other alcoholic drink a day increases breast cancer risk, finds a major new report by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF). The report also revealed, for the first time, that vigorous exercise such as running or fast bicycling decreases the risk of both pre- and post-menopausal breast cancers. Strong evidence confirmed an earlier finding that moderate exercise decreases the risk of post-menopausal breast cancer, the most common type of breast cancer. "It can be confusing with single studies when the findings get swept back and forth," said Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD, a lead author of the report and cancer prevention expert at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. "With this comprehensive and up-to-date report the evidence is clear: Having a physically active lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight throughout life and limiting alcohol -- these are all steps women can take to lower their risk." Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Breast Cancer systematically collated and evaluated the scientific research worldwide on how diet, weight and exercise affect breast cancer risk in the first such review since 2010. The report analyzed 119 studies, including data on 12 million women and 260,000 cases of breast cancer. The report found strong evidence that drinking the equivalent of a small glass of wine or beer a day (about 10 grams alcohol content) increases pre-menopausal breast cancer risk by 5 percent and post-menopausal breast cancer risk by 9 percent. A standard drink is 14 grams of alcohol. For vigorous exercise, pre-menopausal women who were the most active had a 17 percent lower risk and post-menopausal women had a 10 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer compared to those who were the least active. Total moderate activity, such as walking and gardening, linked to a 13 percent lower risk when comparing the most versus least active women. In addition the report showed that: Breast cancer is the most common cancer in US women with over 252,000 new cases estimated this year. AICR estimates that one in three breast cancer cases in the U.S. could be prevented if women did not drink alcohol, were physically active and stayed a healthy weight. The report points to links between diet and breast cancer risk. There was some evidence -- although limited -- that non-starchy vegetables lowers risk for estrogen-receptor (ER) negative breast cancers, a less common but more challenging to treat type of tumor. Limited evidence also links dairy, diets high in calcium and foods containing carotenoids to lowering risk of some breast cancers. Carrots, apricots, spinach and kale are all foods high in carotenoids, a group of phytonutrients studied for their health benefits. These links are intriguing but more research is needed, says McTiernan. "The findings indicate that women may get some benefit from including more non-starchy vegetables with high variety, including foods that contain carotenoids," she said. "That can also help avoid the common 1 to 2 pounds women are gaining every year, which is key for lowering cancer risk." Aside from these lifestyle risk factors, other established causes of breast cancer include being older, early menstrual period and having a family history of breast cancer. While there are many factors that women cannot control, says Alice Bender, MS, RDN, AICR's Head of Nutrition Programs, the good news from this report is that all women can take steps to lower their breast cancer risk. "Wherever you are with physical activity, try to nudge it up a bit, either a little longer or a little harder. Make simple food shifts to boost protection -- substitute veggies like carrots, bell peppers or green salad for chips and crackers and if you drink alcohol, stick to a single drink or less," said Bender. "There are no guarantees when it comes to cancer, but it's empowering to know you can do something to lower your risk." For the full report, contact communications@aicr.org or m.nelson@aicr.org The report is part of the Continuous Update Project (CUP), which monitors and analyzes research on cancer prevention from around the world and draws conclusions on how weight, diet and physical activity can reduce the risk of developing cancer. Reports are located here: http://www. . US CUP Panel Members include: Elisa Bandera, MD, PhD, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey; Steven Clinton, MD, PhD, The Ohio State University; Edward Giovannucci, MD, ScD, Harvard School of Public Health; Stephen Hursting, PhD, MPH, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill; Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Previous reports from AICR and WCRF International have found that - in addition to post-menopausal breast cancer - excess body fat increases risk for ovarian, esophageal, colorectal, gallbladder, liver, endometrial, kidney, stomach cardia, pancreatic, and advanced prostate cancers. Breast data from SEER Cancer Statistics Review 1975-2013, National Cancer Institute. Our Vision: We want to live in a world where no one develops a preventable cancer. Our Mission: The American Institute for Cancer Research champions the latest and most authoritative scientific research from around the world on cancer prevention and survival through diet, weight and physical activity, so that we can help people make informed lifestyle choices to reduce their cancer risk. We have contributed over $105 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. Find evidence-based tools and information for lowering cancer risk, including AICR's Recommendation for Cancer Prevention, at http://www. .


News Article | May 23, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Cancer experts say they're increasingly confident that at least two lifestyle choices can affect a woman's risk of getting breast cancer: drinking alcohol and exercising. Just one alcoholic drink each day is enough to boost breast cancer risk, according to a comprehensive new report published Tuesday. Vigorous exercise, by contrast, can decrease the risk in both pre- and postmenopausal women. SEE ALSO: Alcohol's cancer risks outweigh any health benefits, study shows The American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund published their joint report, which includes data on 12 million women and 260,000 cases of breast cancer gathered in nearly 120 studies. "The evidence is clear: Having a physically active lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight throughout life and limiting alcohol — these are all steps women can take to lower their risk," said Anne McTiernan, a lead author of the report and a cancer prevention expert at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. The study gives researchers "even greater confidence in the results," McTiernan said in an email. Tuesday's report upholds earlier findings about the links between alcohol consumption and breast cancer risk. Yet McTiernan said she was surprised to find that just one drink a day on average was enough to raise a woman's risk. In the U.S., a standard drink contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol, which is found in 5 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, or 12 ounces of a 5-percent alcohol beer. The analysis of premenopausal women included 10 large cohort studies, in which more than 4,000 women developed breast cancer. While the increase in risk for drinking an average of 10 grams of alcohol per day was relatively small — about 5 percent — it is still statistically significant. The postmenopausal analysis included 22 large cohort studies, in which more than 35,000 women developed breast cancer. Researchers found a 9 percent increase in risk for drinking an average of 10 grams of alcohol per day, which is also statistically significant. There are still many unknowns about how and why alcohol consumption affects breast cancer risk, Melissa Pilewskie, a surgical breast oncologist at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center said in an interview. Pilewskie was not involved in Tuesday's report but said its findings were consistent with a number of other studies. She said it's unclear whether one drink per day is the same as having a few drinks here and there throughout the week. Alcohol consumption may also be a "surrogate" for other lifestyle factors that are the real risk culprits. Whatever the case, our drinking habits are one of the few areas of cancer risk that we can actually control, she said. Genetics, family history, age, breast density — these are much greater risk factors for breast cancer, but we can't change them. "For women who are at increased risk [of breast cancer], this is something we think likely could make a difference, even though it may be only a moderate difference," Pilewskie said. The new report provided stronger evidence that moderate exercise can decrease the risk of post-menopausal breast cancer — the most common type of breast cancer. It also revealed, for the first time, that vigorous physical exercise can decrease the risk in premenopausal women as well.  Premenopausal women who were the most active had a 17 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer, compared to those who were the least active, the report found. Postmenopausal women had a 10 percent reduction in risk. Alice Bender, a nutritionist at the American Institute for Cancer Research, said "vigorous" activity should be sufficiently intense that it's hard to carry on a sustained conversation. That could mean power walking, jogging, or cycling, depending on the person's fitness level. Bender acknowledged that exercising more and drinking less are not surefire ways to prevent cancer, just like exercising less and drinking more won't condemn you to a diagnosis. "There are no guarantees when it comes to cancer. We know a lot of things are out of our control," she said. But evidence increasingly suggests that healthier lifestyle choices can "move the needle" toward cancer prevention. Findings from Tuesday's breast cancer report will included in the cancer institutes' forthcoming 2017 report on diet, weight, physical activity and cancer prevention. A global panel of experts will also use the research to update the World Cancer Research Fund's Recommendations for Cancer Prevention. WATCH: Gamer with cancer gets touching gift from his best friends


News Article | May 25, 2017
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

Drinking just one glass of wine or other alcoholic drink a day increases breast cancer risk, finds a major new report by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).The report also revealed, for the first time, that vigorous exercise such as running or fast bicycling decreases the risk of both pre- and post-menopausal breast cancers. Strong evidence confirmed an earlier finding that moderate exercise decreases the risk of post-menopausal breast cancer, the most common type of breast cancer. "It can be confusing with single studies when the findings get swept back and forth," said Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD, a lead author of the report and cancer prevention expert at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. "With this comprehensive and up-to-date report the evidence is clear: Having a physically active lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight throughout life and limiting alcohol -- these are all steps women can take to lower their risk." Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Breast Cancer systematically collated and evaluated the scientific research worldwide on how diet, weight and exercise affect breast cancer risk in the first such review since 2010. The report analyzed 119 studies, including data on 12 million women and 260,000 cases of breast cancer. The report found strong evidence that drinking the equivalent of a small glass of wine or beer a day (about 10 grams alcohol content) increases pre-menopausal breast cancer risk by 5 percent and post-menopausal breast cancer risk by 9 percent. A standard drink is 14 grams of alcohol. For vigorous exercise, pre-menopausal women who were the most active had a 17 percent lower risk and post-menopausal women had a 10 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer compared to those who were the least active. Total moderate activity, such as walking and gardening, linked to a 13 percent lower risk when comparing the most versus least active women. In addition the report showed that: • Being overweight or obese increases the risk of post-menopausal breast cancer, the most common type of breast cancer. • Mothers who breastfeed are at lower risk for breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in US women with over 252,000 new cases estimated this year. AICR estimates that one in three breast cancer cases in the U.S. could be prevented if women did not drink alcohol, were physically active and stayed a healthy weight. The report points to links between diet and breast cancer risk. There was some evidence -- although limited -- that non-starchy vegetables lowers risk for estrogen-receptor (ER) negative breast cancers, a less common but more challenging to treat type of tumor. Limited evidence also links dairy, diets high in calcium and foods containing carotenoids to lowering risk of some breast cancers. Carrots, apricots, spinach and kale are all foods high in carotenoids, a group of phytonutrients studied for their health benefits. These links are intriguing but more research is needed, says McTiernan. "The findings indicate that women may get some benefit from including more non-starchy vegetables with high variety, including foods that contain carotenoids," she said. "That can also help avoid the common 1 to 2 pounds women are gaining every year, which is key for lowering cancer risk." Aside from these lifestyle risk factors, other established causes of breast cancer include being older, early menstrual period and having a family history of breast cancer. While there are many factors that women cannot control, says Alice Bender, MS, RDN, AICR's Head of Nutrition Programs, the good news from this report is that all women can take steps to lower their breast cancer risk. "Wherever you are with physical activity, try to nudge it up a bit, either a little longer or a little harder. Make simple food shifts to boost protection -- substitute veggies like carrots, bell peppers or green salad for chips and crackers and if you drink alcohol, stick to a single drink or less," said Bender. "There are no guarantees when it comes to cancer, but it's empowering to know you can do something to lower your risk."


News Article | May 25, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

A new study indicates that consuming one alcoholic drink each day can increase a woman's breast cancer risk. Researchers found that a small glass of beer or wine, which contains roughly 10 grams of alcohol, can increase a premenopausal woman's cancer risk by 5 percent. The risk goes up by 9 percent in case of postmenopausal women. According to the study's lead author Anne McTiernan, both figures are significant. McTiernan is an expert in cancer prevention at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The American Institute for Cancer Research, or AICR, made the World Cancer Research Fund report available to the public. Apart from establishing the fact that even one drink a day increases breast cancer risk, the WCRF report found that moderate exercise can help lessen breast cancer risk in both postmenopausal and premenopausal women. "Having a physically active lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight throughout life, and limiting alcohol —these are all steps women can take to lower their risk," McTiernan noted. To validate their hypothesis, the researchers examined and evaluated data from 119 studies. These studies contained data from more than 12 million women, including roughly 260,000 women suffering from breast cancer. Physicians and other health officials who are not associated with this study are of the view that the research does not provide new insight into the control or prevention of breast cancer, as the link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer was established in the past. However, they noted that this study will nevertheless present more data about the exact alcohol amount, which can increase breast cancer risk. McTiernan added that wine, beer, and spirits are all responsible for increasing breast cancer risk. On an average, the AICR recommends just one drink a day for women. However, the AICR notes that it would be best if one completely abstains from alcohol consumption. For women who are concerned about breast cancer risk, low-calorie drinks such as sparkling water, coffee, tea, or water can be a good alternative to alcohol. The researchers also uncovered that that women who are yet to hit menopause and exercised well had a 17 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer vis-à-vis those who are not that active. Breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women who exercised vigorously decreased by 10 percent. Women in general, who exercise moderately have a 13 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer compared to those who do not exercise at all. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


Jebb S.A.,MRC Human Nutrition Research | Aveyard P.N.,University of Oxford | Hawkes C.,World Cancer Research Fund
Obesity Reviews | Year: 2013

Summary: Tackling obesity has been a policy priority in England for more than 20 years. Two formal government strategies on obesity in 2008 and 2011 drew together a range of actions and developed new initiatives to fill perceived gaps. Today, a wide range of policies are in place, including support for breastfeeding and healthy weaning practices, nutritional standards in schools, restrictions on marketing foods high in fat, sugar and salt to children, schemes to boost participation in sport, active travel plans, and weight management services. Data from annual surveys show that the rate of increase in obesity has attenuated in recent years, but has not yet been reversed. This paper considers the actions taken and what is known about the impact of individual policies and the overarching strategy to tackle obesity in England. © 2013 The Authors. Obesity Reviews published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of the International Association for the Study of Obesity.


FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--SCIEX today announced its donation of US$11,000 to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).


News Article | April 28, 2016
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

Research into bladder tumor surgery has found that using narrow band imaging can significantly reduce the risk of disease recurrence. According to the World Cancer Research Fund, bladder cancer is the ninth most common cancer in the world.


News Article | November 1, 2015
Site: news.yahoo.com

Monday was a rough day for bacon lovers, as well as for fans of hot dogs, sausage and salami. That's when a report by a cancer research group from the World Health Organization announced that there was sufficient evidence from epidemiological studies to show that eating processed meat can cause colorectal cancer in people. The researchers also classified processed meat as a human carcinogen, or cancer-causing agent. The news for people who eat steaks and other unprocessed red meat was only slightly better. After reviewing data from more than 800 studies that looked at the link between the consumption of red meat or processed meat and the risk of certain cancers, the panel of 22 scientists categorized red meat as probably causing cancer. The group also concluded there was strong, but still limited, evidence of an association between eating red meat and colorectal cancer. In addition, the data showed a connection between eating processed meat and an increased risk of developing stomach cancer, as well as a positive link between red meat and cancers of the pancreas and prostate, according to the findings, published online (Oct. 26) in the journal Lancet Oncology. But the evidence for these associations was not as strong as the evidence found for colorectal cancer. [Cancer-Fighting Diet: 6 Tips to Reduce Your Risk] The WHO said its findings were a scientific evaluation of the evidence, rather than a set of recommendations about what people should or should not be eating. Because the WHO findings received widespread media attention and represented a definitive health warning about the dangers of processed meat, it left many consumers wondering what to do, how to pack their lunches and whether everyone needed to become a vegetarian. In addition, many consumers were confused about which foods fell into the categories of processed and red meats, which compounds in these foods seemed to promote cancer, or how much of these meats, if any, were safe to include in a person's diet. For answers to these and other pressing questions, Live Science turned to two experts on nutrition and cancer prevention. The WHO data showed that a person who eats a little bit less than 2 ounces of processed meat a day, which is equal to one small hot dog or about two slices of salami, is 18 percent more likely to develop colorectal cancer than someone who eats none, said Alice Bender, a registered dietitian and the associate director of nutrition programs at the American Institute for Cancer Research. AICR is a nonprofit group based in Washington, D.C., that supports research on diet, nutrition and cancer prevention, and was not involved in the WHO report. Bender said that processed meat is any meat that has been preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding chemical preservatives. This puts most of the cold cuts at the supermarket deli counter — such as ham, pastrami, turkey and bologna — into this category, along with bacon, sausage, hot dogs, corned beef, pepperoni, beef jerky as well as canned meat, like Spam. Turkey bacon and turkey sausage are also processed meat, as are smoked turkey and smoked chicken, Bender said. Red meat includes beef, pork, veal and lamb, and also horse, goat and mutton (meat from sheep), although these are rarely consumed in the United States. Although research has not yet revealed exactly why diets high in processed meat and red meat increase the risk of colon cancer, the WHO report has identified a few possible culprits that may be responsible. Some of the substances used in the smoking process to preserve meats may lead to the formation of the cancer-causing compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), Bender told Live Science. Also, processing meat often involves using nitrites as preservatives to prevent bacterial growth and as coloring agents, but nitrites may form compounds called N-nitroso compounds. Red meat has a lot of iron in a form called heme iron, which may also stimulate the production of N-nitroso compounds in the gut. The compounds have been found to cause cancer in animal studies, Bender said. Cooking methods may also play a role. High-temperature methods, such as grilling, frying or broiling, which might be used with beef or pork, can form more cancer-promoting chemicals, such as heterocyclic amines (HCAs), and the char on the outside of meats can contain PAHs. [10 Do's and Don'ts to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer] Although the WHO report didn't make any dietary recommendations, and the American Cancer Society Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity and Cancer Prevention currently advise people in a very general way "to limit how much processed meat and red meat they eat," the guidance from the American Institute for Cancer Research includes specific amounts of meat in its dietary recommendations. They recommend that people avoid eating processed meat, or reserve eating it to only a few special occasions during the year, such as a hot dog at the ballpark, a sausage when tailgating and bacon on Christmas morning, Bender said. For red meat, the AICR recommendations call for eating no more than 18 ounces of cooked red meat weekly, which is an amount that doesn't increase colon cancer risk appreciable, based on an evaluation of the evidence done for AICR by a worldwide panel of experts, Bender said. Red meat can be a source of protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B-12 in some people's diet, she said. Six card-deck size portions, or roughly 3-ounce servings, of red meat would fall under the recommended limit, Bender said. The conclusions reached by the WHO scientific panel come as no surprise, said Dr. Tim Byers, a professor of preventive medicine at the Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora.  Byers previously served on two expert review committees — one for the World Cancer Research Fund, and one for the American Cancer Society.  He said that both those groups reviewed basically the same set of evidence and came to similar conclusions. "The data was quite clear from these analyses that eating processed meat can increase colon cancer risk, and that red meat can also increase the risk, but to a lesser extent," Byers told Live Science. However, the size of the risk that comes with eating processed meat is relatively small in relation to colon cancer, and it would have about the same size impact on the risk for the disease as three other known colon cancer risk factors — being overweight, being physically sedentary or not eating enough fruits and vegetables, he said. If people decide on the basis of the WHO report to stop eating red meat, this would reduce their risk for colon cancer to some extent, Byers said. In contrast, undergoing colonoscopy screenings has a huge effect on reducing the risk of colon cancer, he said. Editor's note: A correction was made to this article on Oct. 31. The article originally stated that the AICR was involved in writing the new report, but it was not. 7 Cancers You Can Ward Off with Exercise 7 Foods You Can Overdose On Science You Can Eat: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Food Copyright 2015 LiveScience, a Purch company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


News Article | December 19, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Mayo Clinic researchers and a team of collaborating scientists from across the country have determined the comparative effectiveness of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), aspirin and several supplements in preventing the recurrence of advanced neoplasia (polyps that are the precursor of colorectal cancer) after polyp removal. According to the World Cancer Research Fund, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the world. In the U.S., more than one-third of people who develop colorectal cancer will die of the disease, with most of those cancers arising from advanced neoplasia (also known as advanced adenomas or adenomatous polyps). In their study, published this month in The BMJ, the research team showed that, for most patients, nonaspirin NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen) work better than aspirin or a host of nutritional supplements to prevent the growth of advanced adenomas. In the paper, they say that due to most colorectal cancers developing from this type of polyps, preventing them is a good proxy for colorectal cancer prevention. "Approximately 85 percent of all colorectal cancers are thought to result from untreated adenomatous polyps," says M. Hassan Murad, M.D., a clinical epidemiologist and preventive medicine physician at Mayo Clinic, and the study's senior author. "If we can find a way to stop their growth, we could prevent a majority of these cases." "We knew that aspirin and other NSAIDs have a protective effect, and that a number of other nutritional supplements have also been studied for their effectiveness in preventing cancer," says Dr. Murad. "What we didn't know is how they compared to each other." The team conducted a meta-analysis (a statistical research method that involves combining data from multiple studies to obtain a single consolidated observation) of clinical trial data from 15 randomized control trials, reviewing information from 12,234 patients. These studies included low- and high-dose aspirin therapy, calcium, vitamin D and folic acid, and compared them each alone or in various combinations. Dr. Murad and his colleagues showed that nonaspirin NSAIDs are better than all the other compared therapies for preventing recurrence of adenomatous polyps within three to five years following initial polyp removal. However, because of some of the other health risks of nonaspirin NSAIDs, they may not be the best choice for everyone. Aspirin had nearly as good of results, with much less additional risk. Dr. Murad and his colleagues cautioned that, although low-dose aspirin was ranked second in preventive capabilities, "the excess benefit over risk might therefore be favorable for many patients." "It is important that patients and doctors have a discussion on the various risks and benefits of any medication or other therapy," says Dr. Murad. "While a research publication may contain promising findings, it is generalized information, and each individual is different. So their care will be individualized, as well." Dr. Murad is part of the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center, where he leads the Knowledge Synthesis Program. In addition, he heads Mayo Clinic's Evidence-based Practice Center. His group conducts systematic reviews, such as this study, where they collect, appraise and summarize the available evidence on a topic. These evidence summaries help patients, physicians, guideline developers, and other stakeholders make decisions consistent with the best available evidence. Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org.


News Article | October 26, 2015
Site: www.sciencenews.org

It’s official: Processed meat — such as hot dogs, bacon, corned beef and salami — causes cancer. Years of evidence and numerous studies have linked processed meat to colorectal, or bowel, cancer. Now, after reviewing more than 800 epidemiological studies, the World Health Organization has designated such meats as carcinogenic. WHO made the announcement online October 26 in The Lancet Oncology. WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies processed meat — meat altered through salting, curing, fermenting or smoking — as a Group 1 carcinogen. This group of cancer-causing agents also includes smoking and asbestos. The ranking means there’s convincing evidence linking the modified meats to colorectal cancer, evidence as strong as that linking smoking to cancer. This does not mean that eating processed meat is as risky as smoking. An analysis by the research charity group Cancer Research UK in London offers some perspective: Research suggests that 61 people per 1,000 in the United Kingdom will develop bowel cancer during their lives. Among those 1,000 who eat the most processed meat, you’d expect 66 to develop bowel cancer, while among those who eat the least processed meat, about 56 would develop bowel cancer. The IARC also classified red meat, (beef, veal, mutton, lamb, pork, horse and goat) as “probably carcinogenic.” This Group 2A classification means eating red meat was correlated with an increased risk for some cancers including bowel, pancreatic and prostate, but other explanations for the increase couldn’t be ruled out. In the IARC evaluation, prospective cohort studies, which follow large groups of healthy people and track information on exposures as they go along, were given the most weight. Additional evidence came from case-controlled studies, which look at people who are already sick and ask them about things like their food habits before they got cancer. While evidence linking processed meats and bowel cancer was the strongest, some studies also suggested a link between processed meat and stomach cancer and red meat and pancreatic and prostate cancer. The IARC doesn’t make diet recommendations, but other organizations have been suggesting for years that people limit their intake of red and processed meat. “This is an important step in helping individuals make healthier dietary choices to reduce their risk of colorectal cancer in particular,” Susan Gapstur, vice president of epidemiology at the American Cancer Society, said in a statement. The London-based World Cancer Research Fund recommends eating no more than 500 grams of red meat per week, and eating as little as possible of processed meats. One hot dog is about 45 grams; 100 grams is roughly a portion the size of a deck of cards — slightly less than a quarter-pound hamburger, for instance. Several cancer-causing mechanisms are probably at play, the IARC notes. Curing and smoking meat can generate nitroso compounds, which damage DNA. High amounts of iron — found naturally in red meats — also increase production of these compounds. The way meat is prepared may raise cancer risks, too. The high temperatures of pan frying, grilling and broiling can produce aromatic amines (also found in tobacco smoke), which do cellular damage. It may seem counterintuitive that something like meat, part of the human diet for ages, could be bad for you, says Mariana Stern, a cancer epidemiologist from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She was one of the 22 scientists on the IARC panel. In fact, meat does provide important proteins and other micronutrients such as B vitamins, iron and zinc, the IARC notes. But quantity and life expectancy are different today than in the past, Stern says. “Age is the biggest carcinogen that we have,” she says. “We’ve been eating meat for a long time, but currently, we may be eating it in much higher amounts and our life expectancy is higher so we have more time to develop cancers.”

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