Does Meat Cause Cancer?

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Late last year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) answered the question many of us have pondered and perhaps worried about for years does red meat cause cancer?

In October 2015, WHO released a report written by 22 experts via the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) after analysing data from over 800 studies on the connection between cancer and meat.

So does this mean people should stop eating meat?

Well, after much concern racing around the world following the report release, WHO issued this statement :

IARC's review confirms the recommendation in WHO's 2002 Diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases report which advised people to moderate consumption of preserved meat to reduce the risk of cancer. The latest IARC review does not ask people to stop eating processed meats but indicates that reducing consumption of these products can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

So what's the risk? Well, the WHO says 50 grams of processed meat can increase a person's chance of getting cancer by 18 percent.

How does meat increase cancer risk?

The review lists processed meat as a Group 1 carcinogen. And while it joins cigarettes in the list, not all substances in the group are as risky as others, when it comes to increasing the risk of cancer.

Unprocessed red meat is in Group 2A, making it a probable but unproven carcinogen.

Should meat eaters be concerned?

Certainly, an 18 percent increased cancer risk isn't something to ignore. But some commentators say that risk is only moderate compared to other carcinogens.

Bear in mind that the increase relates to your current cancer risk. So it's an 18 percent increase on your existing risk. How do you know if you already have a moderate to high risk of cancer?

Speak with your healthcare advisor, understand your risk, and ensure you eat a balanced, nutritious diet. You can also check the WHO carcinogens list and limit your intake to reduce your risk of developing cancer.

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