Study Links Processed Meat, Cancer

This studio shot shows John Wayne in character for the John Ford 1939 film, "Stagecoach." Wayne had already appeared in 79 films, from extra to lead, before his breakout performance as the Ringo Kid.
United Artists
Heavy consumption of processed meats such as hot dogs and sausages increases the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, according to a study of nearly 200,000 men and women in Hawaii and Southern California.

Those who consumed the greatest amount of processed meats had a 67 percent increase in risk over those with the lowest consumption. A diet rich in pork and red meat also increased pancreatic cancer by about 50 percent, according to the study.

Results of the study were presented earlier this week at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Anaheim, Calif. The research was conducted by scientists from the University of Hawaii's Cancer Research Center and the University of Southern California.

The American Meat Institute disputed the study's claims in a statement Thursday, saying "processed meats are safe and wholesome foods that can be part of a healthy, balanced diet."

The Washington, D.C.-based group said the study has not been peer reviewed and contradicts previous studies.

"Unfortunately, this week's study is being reported in isolation from other peer-reviewed, published papers that conclude that higher meat consumption is not correlated with pancreatic cancer," the group said.

The study showed no heightened pancreatic cancer risk with eating poultry, fish, dairy products or eggs — nor did overall intake of total fat, saturated fat or cholesterol cause additional risk.