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Red meat 'increases cancer risk'

24th May 2011

Eating red and processed meat increases a person's chances of developing colorectal cancer, while eating fibre can lower the risk, a new study has revealed.

Research carried out by experts at Imperial College London and released as part of the World Cancer Research Fund's Continuous Update Project (CUP) suggests consuming more than 500g of red or processed meat a week could significantly increase bowel cancer risk.

Additionally, the researchers noted that studies had confirmed the consumption of fibre to be a 'convincing' means of lowering this risk.

Professor Alan Jackson, chair of the CUP expert panel, said the research shows bowel cancer is 'not inevitable' and that lifestyle and diet changes can have a major impact on people's likelihood of developing the condition.

'The clear message that comes out of our report is that red and processed meat increase risk of bowel cancer and that people who want to reduce their risk should consider cutting down the amount they eat,' he added.

Meanwhile, a recent study by Cancer Research UK, published in the Lancet medical journal, found that it may be possible for people over the age of 75 to take part in bowel cancer drug trials if doses of experimental chemotherapy drugs are lowered to reduce the risk of harmful side-effects.

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