Stomach Cancer Linked to Red Meat: How Big Is the Risk?

While there doesn't seem to be such a thing as a "prevention diet" for breast cancer, Dr. Love says gorging on animal fat is probably a no-no. Better to eat a diet that's low in animal fat and high in whole grains, fruits, and veggies. istockphoto

(istockphoto)

(CBS) More bad news for red-meat lovers: They face an increased risk for cancer of the stomach and esophagus.

Scientists who followed almost 500,000 U.S. adults ages 50 to 71 for 10 years found that those who ate the most red meat were 79 percent more likely than those who ate the least to develop squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus, Reuters reported.

Another type of cancer that forms in the upper portion of the stomach appeared more often in people who ingested the highest amounts of heterocyclic amines (HCA's), compounds that form when meat is grilled over an open flame, or by other high-temperature methods.

About 21,000 cases of stomach cancer and 16,640 cases of esophageal cancer will be diagnosed in 2010, according to the American Cancer Society.

The findings add to existing data showing a tentative link between red meat and certain cancers. But owing to limitations of the study's design, the findings do not prove that red meat causes cancer, according to a statement given to Reuters by the lead author

The study was published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

The take-away? Larger studies are needed to confirm the relationship between red meat and the two cancers.

But still - do you need another study to convince you that a bacon cheeseburger may not be the healthiest fare?


  • Aina Hunter

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