Processed Meat 'Linked To Increased Cancer Risk', Says Meta-Study

Bacon and sausages are among the most popular processed meat products
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Bacon cooking in a pan

Evidence is mounting up against bacon

Women who regularly eat processed meat including bacon and sausages could be increasing their breast cancer risk, according to a new meta-study.

The review, which was published in the International Journal of Cancer, compiled the findings of 15 previous studies involving more than 1.2 million subjects and found those who ate high levels of products like sausages and bacon had a nine percent increased risk compared to those who ate little.

Multiple organizations - including the World Health Organization - have already branded processed meat carcinogenic.

'Increased risk'

"Previous works linked increased risk of some types of cancer to higher processed meat intake," Lead author Dr Maryam Farvid, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said.

"This recent meta-analysis suggests that processed meat consumption may also increase breast cancer risk.

"Therefore, cutting down processed meat seems beneficial for the prevention of breast cancer."

A bacon sandwich

Bacon has been classified as carcinogenic by the World Health Organization

Limitations

Some have criticized the findings and questioned whether people should lower their red and processed meat consumption on the back of these result.

"Even small changes to the disease risk will have a huge impact," said Dr. Gunter Kuhnle, Associate Professor in Nutrition and Health at the University of Reading. He was not part of the study.

"It is important to follow up on these findings and investigate whether the risk of cancer associated with processed meat consumption could be reduced - for example by developing new food production methods."