Associations between unprocessed red meat and processed meat with risk of recurrence and mortality in patients with stage III colon cancer
A study published in JAMA Network Open investigated whether consumption of unprocessed red meat or processed meats such as bacon, ham, or smoked meats after a colon cancer diagnosis were associated with a higher risk of recurrence and death. Both the American Cancer Society and the American Institute for Cancer Research recommend that cancer survivors limit intake of red and processed meats, recommendations which are based on solid associations between red and processed meat intake and cancer risk, especially risk of colorectal cancer. However, there is little data on the impact of red and processed meat intake on cancer outcomes after diagnosis.
The study used data from participants with stage III colon cancer who were enrolled in the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB 89803/Alliance) trial which took place between 1999 and 2001. Unprocessed red meat and processed meat intake were assessed using a validated food questionnaire during and 6 months after chemotherapy. The investigators found that intake of unprocessed red meat or processed meat after colon cancer diagnosis was not associated with a greater risk of cancer recurrence or death.
Take away message:
While consumption of unprocessed red meat and processed meats has been shown to be associated with an increased risk of developing cancer, particularly colorectal cancer, a recent study found that consumption of red and processed meats after cancer diagnosis does not appear to increase risk of cancer recurrence or death.