Bacon roll a day linked to most lethal of cancers
Jeremy Laurance is Health Editor of The Independent and the i and has covered the specialism for more than 20 years. He thinks the harm medicine does is under-appreciated, the harm it prevents over-rated, and that cycling works better than most drugs. He was named Specialist Journalist of the Year in the 2011 British Press Awards.
Friday 13 January 2012
The most fatal of all cancers is linked today for the first time with the consumption of processed meat.
A daily bacon sandwich or a single sausage, equivalent to an average serving of 50 grams, is associated with a 19 per cent increase in risk of pancreatic cancer, researchers say.
The finding adds to evidence from earlier studies that processed meat – including ham, bacon and sausages – increases the incidence of cancer of the bowel. Pancreatic cancer affects only one in 77 men and one in 79 women during their lifetime. But it has among the poorest survival rates of any cancer with almost 95 per cent of patients dying within five years.
"Thus identification of risk factors for this cancer is of great public health importance," researchers from the Karolinska Institute, in Sweden, said.
They analysed 11 studies involving over 6,000 people with pancreatic cancer. The results showed red meat consumption also increased the risk of the cancer for men by 29 per cent for each daily serving of 120 grams. But there was no significant increase in risk for women, raising doubts about the robustness of the finding.
But the link with processed meat is "biologically plausible", the researchers say in the British Journal of Cancer. Nitrites used to preserve processed meats are "potent carcinogens" which have been shown to cause pancreatic cancer in animals.
About 8,090 people were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the UK in 2008, and around 7,780 people died.
Dr Rachel Thompson, deputy head of science at the World Cancer Research Fund, said: "WCRF recommends limiting intake of red meat to 500g cooked weight a week and avoiding processed meat altogether."
Sara Hiom, director of information at Cancer Research UK, said: "The jury is still out as to whether meat is a definite risk factor for pancreatic cancer and more large studies are needed. But this new analysis suggests processed meat may be playing a role."
Life & Style blogs
Other popular areas include Didsbury, Clifton in Bristol, central Cambridge and West Bridgford
Doctors are allowed to have personal beliefs, just as long as these beliefs do not interfere with th...
BBC journalist Justin Webb talks about his experiences of the advances in preventing heart attacks a...
The 10 Best Scotch Whiskies
Meet David Karp, the 26-year-old high school dropout worth $275m after selling Tumblr to Yahoo
Game on: Xbox 720 and PS4 go head to head with Microsoft set to launch console today
Mothers’ diets may harm IQs of two babies in three
'The ultimate all-in-one home entertainment system': Microsoft finally unveils its Xbox ONE console
- 1 Gay couple beaten in park urge MPs to moderate language on gay marriage
- 2 Swedes set up 'ultimate Viking movie'
- 3 After woman sells virginity for $780,000, here are the results of our prostitution survey
- 4 China agrees to impose carbon targets by 2016
- 5 Far-right French historian, 78-year-old Dominique Venner, commits suicide in Notre Dame in protest against gay marriage
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
Excellent Salary Package - £60K to £120K: Austen Lloyd: We have an exciting op...
£200 - £250 per day: Progressive Recruitment: Java Developer - Urgent Requirem...
£70000 - £95000 per annum + Bonus, flexible working hours, remote work: Progre...
£50000 - £56000 per annum + Benefits package, flexible working hours: Progress...