European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) showed that the risk of developing bowel cancer was a third higher for people eating more than two portions a day of red and processed meat than for those eating less than one portion a week. The investigation was set up 10 years ago to research the dietary habits of red meat eating people. Eating red and processed meat increases the risk of people developing colorectal cancer, according to a European prospective study published in Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The study prospectively followed up 478 040 men and women aged 25-70 years from 10 European countries. All were free of cancer at enrolment between 1992 and 1998. Information on diet and lifestyle was collected at baseline. A total of 1329 incident colorectal cancers were documented after a mean follow-up of 4.8 years.
The data showed that colorectal cancer risk was positively associated with eating red and processed meat. The risk was 35% higher in people eating the highest amounts of these foods (>160 g/day) compared with those eating the lowest amounts (<20 g/day) (hazard ratio 1.35, 95% confidence interval 0.96 to 1.88; P=0.03). The absolute risk of developing of colorectal cancer within 10 years for a study participant aged 50 years was 1.71% for people eating the most red and processed meat and 1.28% for those with the lowest intake.
(British Medical Journal.)