Red meat 'can raise the risk of cancer by 25 per cent'

Eating large amounts of red and processed meat leaves you at greater risk of cancer, a major report has warned.

One in ten cases of both lung and bowel cancer could be prevented if people cut down on beef, lamb, pork, sausages, ham and bacon, scientists say. Red meat also increases the risk of cancers of the liver and oesophagus, the study found. The research, involving nearly 500,000 people, adds to growing evidence that too much meat in the diet can be deadly. Health experts are increasingly concerned at the role of diet - particularly meat - in cancers.

Last month, a report from the World Cancer Research Fund warned that red meat was a major contributor to the disease. Its scientists urged people to stop eating processed bacon, ham and sausages and consume no more than the equivalent of three 6oz steaks a week.

The latest findings, published today in the science journal PLoS Medicine, reach a similar conclusion.

Researchers at the U.S. National Cancer Institute looked at the records of 494,000 people aged 50 to 71 taking part in an extensive diet and health study. Volunteers filled in detailed questionnaires about their dietary habits over the previous year. That allowed the scientists to work out what proportion of their calories came from red and processed meat.

The researchers then looked at the medical histories of the 20 per cent of volunteers eating the most meat, with the 20 per cent eating the least.

The biggest red meat eaters were 25 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with bowel cancer during the eight-year study, and 20 per cent more likely to develop lung cancer. For processed meat, the increased risk was 20 per cent and 16 per cent respectively.

Source - Daily Mail