Red meat, Asians and colorectal cancer

Thursday, 01 November, 2018

Red meat, Asians and colorectal cancer

Researchers have challenged the link between red and processed meat consumption and colorectal cancer in Asians, stating a previous report did not show a fair representation of Asian studies.

A 2015 report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that the intake of processed meat increases the risk of developing colorectal cancer. A group of 22 experts from 10 countries convened by the IARC Monographs Programme looked at over 800 studies across different countries. Red meat was classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans” while processed meat was classified as carcinogenic, with the experts stating “each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%”.

After analysing prospective, retrospective, case-control and cohort studies, systematic review articles and IARC monograph reports, the researchers found the results in the IARC report were weighted towards studies in Western countries. Among 73 epidemiological studies, approximately 76% were conducted in Western countries, compared to the 15% conducted in Asia.

They found “most studies conducted in Asia showed that processed meat consumption is not related to the onset of cancer”. According to the study, the researchers also found no reports showing significant correlation between meat and colorectal cancer, including processed meat products, raw meat and cooking methods.

The researchers concluded the meat-colorectal cancer correlation “is not clearly supported” in Asians, and recommended further research into the subject to confirm results.

“Further epidemiological studies taking each country’s food culture into consideration are required to reliably elucidate the effects of processed meat product intake, especially on cancer incidence.”

The study was published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.

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