Red meat can be a cancer influence

A comprehensive report on Colorectal cancer has confirmed that the consumption of red and processed meats can increase the risks of contracting the disease, while eating plenty of fibre can help to protect against it. Colorectal cancer, better known as Bowel cancer, is diagnosed in over 2200 people every year in Ireland, the highest incidence being amongst those in the 55-74 age group.

This report was commissioned by the WCRF, World Cancer Research Fund and the AICR, American Institute for Cancer Research. The report is part of the groundbreaking CUP (Continuous Update Project), which examines the links between diet, weight, and physical activity with the risks of contracting Colorectal cancer. This is done over a series of years and this report is an update of the findings of the last report from CUP in 2007.

Dr Elisa Bandera, who served on the CUP committee that authorised the report, says that this clearly shows that Colorectal is one of the most preventable types of cancer. The AICR estimates that as many as 45% of new cases of Colorectal cancer could have been prevented by eating more foods rich is fibre, and a lot less meat. Drinking less alcohol, moving around more and watching your weight can also help to prevent it.

The report that was produced on 2007 analysed 749 papers on the subject of Colorectal cancer, while this latest one adds another 263 papers. From these papers, the experts conclude that there is overwhelming evidence that both processed and red meats increase the risks of developing Colorectal cancer.

The recommended amounts for people to eat safely is 18oz of cooked red meat per week, which roughly equates to 5 or 6 smallish portions of lamb, pork or beef. It also recommends that if possible avoid processed meats altogether. This is because that ounce for ounce, the consumption of processed meats doubled the risk of contracting Colorectal cancer than eating red meat.

The experts on the CUP panel also conclude that the evidence supporting the eating of fibre as reducing the risks has increased since the last report. It said that the evidence it now had has raised the conclusion from probably to convincingly regarding fibre as a protection from the cancer.