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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is the relationship between processed red meats and bowel cancer?

    A recent article I read described a huge study that demonstrated a link between eating processed red meats daily and an earlier death rate due to heart disease and/or cancer. Can processed red meats cause bowel cancer? Should I change my diet?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Bowel Cancer Australia is the leading community-funded charity dedicated to prevention, early diagnosis, research, quality treatment and care for everyone affected by bowel cancer. We … View Profile

    Thank you for your question regarding the association of bowel cancer with processed red meats.  
    The article you have read is correct; there have now been a number of studies carried out to review the impact red meat can have on the body. 

    A report by the World Cancer Research fund and American Institute for Cancer Research has confirmed that a high intake of red and processed meats increases the risk of bowel cancer. 
    For further information, please follow the below links on the Bowel Cancer Australia website to read more about the studies which have shown an elevated risk with high red meat and processed meats with bowel cancer. 


    As for whether or not you should be changing your diet - it is recommended for people to restrict their weekly meat (beef, lamb and pork) intake to 500 grams of meat, or 5 - 6 medium sized portions, and to also avoid processed meats altogether. 
    Bowel Cancer Australia recommend in order to reduce your risk through lifestyle modifications, it is important limit your alcohol consumption, avoid excess body weight and keep up your physical fitness. Diets high in plant-based foods, and a high intake of fibre through fresh fruit and vegetables will help to reduce your risk. 
    Kind regards
    Bowel Cancer Australia Nurse Adviser

    Please Note: The information provided by Bowel Cancer Australia’s Nurse and Nutritionist Advisory Services is intended for Australian residents as a reference guide only.  It is not a substitute for independent professional advice and is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or disorder.
    If you believe your symptoms are consistent with those of bowel cancer or a digestive illness, please consult your doctor.
    Bowel Cancer Australia, its directors, officers or medical professionals shall not be liable to any person, company or any other body for any loss, direct or indirect or consequential on whatsoever account for any omission or negligent misstatement.

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