Red Meat Risks

Well-Done Red Meat May Increase Risk for Aggressive Prostate Cancer

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco offer further evidence of a link between aggressive prostate cancer and meat consumption, and suggest it is driven largely by consumption of grilled or barbecued red meat, especially when it is well-done.

The researchers embarked on the study because although established, the link between meat consumption and prostate cancer was not clear. They questioned whether inconsistency reflects an effect whereby different types of tumors are linked to different types of meat preparation, due to different cancer-causing compounds, or carcinogens.

The study consisted of 470 men with aggressive prostate cancer and 512 matched controls that did not have prostate cancer between 2001 and 2004. Each participant completed a questionnaire that enabled the researchers to access not only their meat intake for the past 12 months, but also the type a meat and how the meat was prepared.

The researchers found that:

  • The higher consumption of any ground beef or processed meats was positively linked with aggressive prostate cancer, with ground beef showing the strongest association.
  • Men who ate high levels of well or very well cooked ground beef had twice the odds of developing aggressive prostate cancer compared to the men who ate none. Low consumption raised the odds to 1.5.
  • In contrast, no such link was found between consumption of rare or medium cooked ground beef and aggressive prostate cancer.
  • Looking at the potential carcinogens by cooking meat at high temperatures, they detected an increased risk of aggressive cancer.

CPC recommends annual prostate screening which includes PSA (prostate specific antigen) and digital rectal exam (DRE). Talk to your doctor about maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle.

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