Sausages, Ham And Bacon Can Cause Cancer

Sausages and ham join smoking and asbestos on the list of health risks, along with bacon, hotdogs and, to some extent, fresh red meat.

Eating certain meats and sausages can cause cancer, according to a report from IARC (the International Agency for Research on Cancer), part of the World Health Organisation. The IARC report pulled together the results of over 800 studies that found a link between a diet high in animal protein and cancer. It confirms current health recommendations to limit the consumption of red meat. The report revealed evidence of a link between colorectal and stomach cancer and the consumption of certain meat products. The experts concluded that for every 50 gram serving of processed meat eaten per day, the risk of colorectal, pancreatic and prostrate cancer increases by 18%. Processed meats, such as hot dogs, are therefore classified as carcinogenic and are included in Group 1 of approximately 115 cancer-causing substances, along with high risk hazards such as smoking, asbestos, arsenic and benzene.
Lower risk, unprocessed red meats are classified as ‘probably carcinogenic’. Processed meats are those which have been transformed through polymerization, fermentation, salting, smoking or subjected to other processes to increase flavour or improve conservation. Most processed meat contains pork or beef, but can be made from other types of red meat, poultry or offal. Examples of processed meat receiving the WHO warning are ham, sausages, hot dogs, canned meat and prepared sauces. The head of the IARC team, Dr Kurt Straif, said that the risk of a person developing bowel cancer due to processed meat consumption remains small, but increases in proportion to the amount consumed. Red meat, such as beef, lamb or pork, is classified in Group 2A as a ‘likely’ carcinogen.

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