WHO Links Processed Meat to Cancer

Cancer is a deadly disease that affects millions of people in the world today. It attacks from within, leaving its victim scarred both physically and mentally.

Cancer kills as well, taking out huge numbers of its victims-millions. Most people have been affected, either directly or through friends and loved ones. Although there are cures and treatments for Cancer, its best to know how to prevent it before it leaves its mark on your life.

Cancer is caused by many things-cigarettes, alcohol and genetics. Another important factor of concern is the food we eat. While there are many foods that prevent cancer, just as many cause the development of carcinogens within the body.

Processed Meats

One of the most publicized products thought to increase the risk of cancer is processed meats. Processed meats are modified to improve their shelf life or make them taste better, this includes curing, salting and smoking. The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) released a report detailing the effects of processed meats. According to the report, processed meat increases your risk of developing cancer, especially bowel cancer, later in life. Only 50 grams of processed meats increases your chances by 18%. This may not seem like much but it’s enough to get our attention. With this information, processed meats are considered carcinogens.

Processed meats include ham, bacon and salami, among others. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), after analyzing data of over 800 studies, concludes that less than two slices of bacon increases the risk of colorectal cancer by a fifth.

What is a carcinogen?

A carcinogen is a chemical substance or radiation that damages material or disturbs the metabolism. Processed foods has long been considered to contain carcinogens, and adding these chemicals causes a negative effect on the digestive system. Processed meats are ranked alongside other carcinogenic substances such as alcohol, cigarettes, asbestos, arsenic and plutonium, although a slice of bacon is not nearly as dangerous as a cigarette.



The Facts

Ranking with other carcinogens, processed meats could be the cause of 34,000 deaths by cancer every year, as reported by BBC. Although this sounds terrifying, cigarette smoking causes roughly a million deaths and alcohol, 600,000.

Red Meat

The WHO also reported that limited evidence may suggest 100 grams of red meat, which includes pork, lamb and veal, can also increase bowel cancer by 17%. There has also been increased evidence that red meat can cause pancreatic and prostate cancer as well, but as of now, a definitive statement cannot be produced.

Professor Tim Key from the charity Cancer Research UK, says,

“The decision doesn’t mean you have to stop eating red and processed meats. It simply means that moderation is the answer.”

Although red meat could pose a risk for cancer development, it is also beneficial to your health. Red meat is packed with vitamin B12, iron and zinc.

Cancer is horrifying, but it can be avoided in some cases. Simply being moderate in your diet and paying attention to what’s good for you and what is detrimental, can greatly reduce your risk of developing cancer. Stay strong, stay smart and stay aware! Pay attention to what you put in your body.

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By Sherrie H.