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WHO Report Links Processed, Red Meat Consumption With Higher Cancer Risk; Experts Say Increased Risk Is Low For Most People

News outlets continue to discuss a WHO agency’s report showing consumption of processed and red meats is associated with higher risk of some cancers.

New York Times: Meat Is Linked to Higher Cancer Risk, WHO Report Finds
“An international panel of experts convened by the World Health Organization concluded Monday that eating processed meat like hot dogs, ham and bacon raises the risk of colon cancer and that consuming other red meats ‘probably’ raises the risk as well. But the increase in risk is so slight that experts said most people should not be overly worried about it…” (O’Connor, 10/26).

U.N. News Centre: New U.N. report links processed meats to cancer in humans; red meat also likely to cause the disease
“… ‘In view of the large number of people who consume processed meat, the global impact on cancer incidence is of public health importance,’ said Dr. Kurt Straif, head of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) … The association between red meat and cancer was observed mainly for colorectal cancer, but associations were also seen for pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer, [the report] said…” (10/26).

Wall Street Journal: Red Meats Linked to Cancer, Global Health Group Says
“…The IARC, considered an authority in evaluating evidence on cancer causation cited studies that conclude there is strong evidence to support a link between eating too much meat and the onset of colorectal cancer, the third-most common type worldwide…” (Gee/Wang, 10/26).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.