The Link between Processed Meat and Cancer: What You Need to Know

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital December 10, 2015

Recent research says that eating processed meat products, such as hot dogs and bacon, can increase a person’s risk for colorectal cancer.

Recent research says that eating processed meat products, such as hot dogs and bacon, can increase a person’s risk for colorectal cancer.

Eating processed meat products can increase a person’s risk for colorectal cancer, according to a report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO). Processed meat is classified as meat that has been salted, cured, fermented, or smoked to add flavor or preserve the meat. These meats include ham, bacon, sausages, corned beef, hot dogs, canned meat, and beef jerky.

In its findings, the IARC also determined that red meat is “probably carcinogenic to humans,” based on “limited evidence.” Red meat consumption was mainly linked to an increased risk for colorectal cancer, but it also had associations with pancreatic cancer or prostate cancer. Red meat includes beef, veal, pork, mutton, lamb, or goat.

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Colorectal Cancer: Five Things You Need To Know

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital March 4, 2014

Thanks to increased awareness, the death rate from colorectal cancer has been dropping for more than 20 years.

Contributor: Dr. Jeffrey Meyerhardt is the clinical director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment Center at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the U.S., with about 134,490 new patients diagnosed in the U.S. in 2016. But thanks to increased awareness about screenings, the death rate from colorectal cancer has been dropping for more than 20 years.

“For the most part, colorectal cancer is a curable and preventable disease,” says Dr. Jeffrey Meyerhardt, clinical director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment Center at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center. “It is a cancer where we have very good data that shows screening prevents disease and saves lives.”

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