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All Boards >> Irritable Bowel Syndrome Research Library


Reged: 12/09/02
Posts: 7677
Loc: Seattle, WA
Red Meat Consumption Linked to Colorectal Cancer
      01/23/05 05:12 PM

Red Meat Consumption Linked to Colorectal Cancer

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Jan 11 - Long-term high consumption of red and processed meat may increase the risk of cancer in the distal colon and rectum, according to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association for January 12th. However, the results of a second report in the same issue found that increased vegetable and fruit intake did not reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Dr. Michael J. Thun, with the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues followed a cohort of 148,610 adults, median age 63 years, who completed questionnaires in 1982 and again between 1992 and 1993 regarding their diet, exercise, medical history and other lifestyle habits. There was a 10-fold difference between lowest and highest quintiles of red meat in men, and a 17-fold difference in women.

By 2001, there were 1667 incident cases of colorectal cancer.

Only when long-term consumption at both time points was considered was there a significantly increased multivariate-adjusted risk associated with the highest tertiles of consumption of processed meats (rate ratio 1.50) and ratio of red meat to poultry and fish (rate ratio 1.53) compared with the lowest tertiles.

Prolonged high consumption of poultry and fish was marginally associated with lower risk of colon cancer (rate ratio 0.70-0.77), but not rectal cancer.

In the second study by Dr. Petra H. M. Peeters, at University Medical Center in Utrecht, the Netherlands and colleagues, approximately 285,000 women ages 25 to 70 from eight European countries were followed for a median of 5.4 years. The subjects, participants of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, had completed dietary questionnaires.

During follow-up in 2002, there were 3659 incident cases of invasive breast cancer.

Even though the mean intake of total fruits and vegetables in the upper quintiles was 2- to 3-times higher than that in the lowest quintile, the authors observed no significant associations between intake and breast cancer risk.

Dr. Peeters' group found no evidence for inverse associations between intake of vegetable subtypes and breast cancer risk.

In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Walter C. Willett, at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, comments that, despite the negative results for breast cancer risk, "reductions in blood pressure and epidemiological evidence for lower risks of cardiovascular disease provide sufficient reason to consume" fruits and vegetables in abundance.

Regarding the association between meat consumption and colorectal cancer, he adds, "prudence would suggest that red meat, and processed meats in particular, should be eaten sparingly to minimize risk."

JAMA 2005;293:172-193,233-234.

Reuters Health Information 2005. © 2005 Reuters Ltd.

Heather is the Administrator of the IBS Message Boards. She’s the author of Eating for IBS and The First Year: IBS, and the CEO of Heather's Tummy Care. Join her IBS Newsletter. Meet Heather on Facebook!

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