A rasher a day 'increases risk of bowel cancer'

Eating one rasher or a slice of ham a day increases the risk of bowel cancer, a new study shows.

People who enjoy a daily slice of beef or a lamb chop for their dinner also increase their chances of getting the disease, which affects 2,227 patients in Ireland annually.

The latest findings, published in ‘International Journal of Epidemiology’ today, confirm previous studies that even moderate amounts of ham, bacon and red meat are linked to bowel cancer.

Commenting on the findings Ivan Perry, professor of public health in University College Cork, said there is growing evidence that people should have a diet that is more plant-based for their own health and the good of the planet.

thored the study and is deputy director at the University of Oxford’s cancer epidemiology unit, said: “Our results strongly suggest that people who eat red and processed meat four or more times a week have a higher risk of developing bowel cancer than those who eat red and processed meat less than twice a week.”

The World Cancer Research Fund previously found there is strong evidence that eating processed meat – such as salami, bacon and ham – is a cause of bowel cancer.

Eating a lot of red meat – like beef, lamb or pork – also increases the risk, it revealed.

In the new study, some 475,581 people aged 40 to 69 were followed for an average of 5.7 years. During this time, 2,609 people developed bowel cancer.

The study found that people consuming an average of 76g per day of red and processed meat had a 20pc higher risk of bowel cancer compared with those who ate 21g per day.

For red meat only, the risk was 15pc higher for people who ate 54g per day (about one thick slice of roast beef or one lamb chop) on average compared with those who had 8g per day.

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