Processed meat, red meat may increase risk of lung cancer

Credit: Louis Hansel / Unsplash.

Scientists from Southwest Jiaotong University and elsewhere found that eating processed meat and red meat may increase the risk of lung cancer.

Red meat is any meat that’s a dark red color before it’s cooked – such as beef and lamb. Pork is also classed as red meat.

Processed meat is meat that’s been cured, salted, smoked, or otherwise preserved in some way (such as bacon, sausages, hot dogs, ham, salami, and pepperoni).

Previous studies have suggested that processed and red meat may increase the risk of cancer. However, the causal effects and direction between them were still unclear.

In the current study, researchers conducted Mendelian randomization (MR) analysis to evaluate the causal effect of processed meat and red meat on the risk of nine common types of cancer.

The 9 cancer types included lung, ovarian, endometrial, breast, kidney, gastric, prostate, skin, and oropharyngeal cancer.

The team used data from Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for processed meat and red meat (pork, beef, and mutton) in the UK Biobank.

They found that genetically predicted processed meat intake was causally linked to an increased risk of lung cancer.

There is no convincing evidence for the links between genetically determined processed meat, red meat, and the risk of other cancers in the study.

Based on the findings, the researchers conclude that the intake of processed meat may increase the risk of lung cancer.

These findings provided no evidence to support that the consumption of processed and red meat has a large effect on the risk of other cancers. Further research is needed to clarify the results.

The research was published in Frontiers in Nutrition and conducted by Kaiwen Wu et al.

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