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Colon Cancer Blog: Processed Meat Increases Colon Cancer Risk

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Jan 16, 2006

Processed Meat Increases Colon Cancer Risk

Processed Meat Increases Colon Cancer Risk
Your risk of development of colon cancer may be directly related to the quantity of processed meat you are eating. Those who eat a lot of processed meats may have a higher risk of developing polyps, which are pre-cancerous growths in the colon.

Researchers, Dr. Douglas J. Robertson of the VA Medical Center in White River Junction, Vermont and colleagues found that among 1,520 adults with a history of colon polyps, those who ate a diet heavy in processed meats had a higher risk of polyp recurrence than those with the lowest intake. On the other hand, patients who favored chicken had a lesser risk of new polyps than those who ate the least.

Colon polyps are growths that, while usually benign, can become cancerous. Patients in the current study had all had polyps removed and were then followed for 4 years to detect any recurrences.

Overall, the one-quarter of patients with the highest intake of processed meat were 75 percent more likely to develop an advanced polyp compared with the one-quarter of patients who ate the least processed meat, the researchers found.

Patients who ate the most fruit, vegetables and whole grains were, however, less likely to develop polyps in the upper part of the colon. Red meat, meanwhile, was not linked to polyp risk.

Despite that latter finding, the overall results are in line with advice to eat red and processed meats sparingly, Robertson and his colleagues write.


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Colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer is a malignant tumor that arises from the inner wall of the large intestine or rectum. Colorectal cancer is the third commonest cancer diagnosed in the United States. Each year over 100,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the United States. Most, of these cancers develop from growths in the colon called polyps. Removal of these polyps can prevent colon cancer.

Colon Cancer Blog: Processed Meat Increases Colon Cancer Risk

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