Saturday, October 31, 2015

WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer

This week a report by WHO's IARC hit the headlines because it appraised the evidence it collected over a number of years and classified processed meat as carcinogenic to humans. It was slightly less cure about red meat in general, with red meat it is only likely to be carcinogenic. Apparently there is no detail in the report about the level of risk for different types of processed meat, although it doesn't include processed poultry meat according to one source I read. Thing is, a lot of processed meat is in people's diets. Knowing that it causes cancer is not enough. We need to know how much does a person have to eat before their risk is significantly increased. We need to know what types of processed meat are worse than others. In relative terms, how does having a hotdog compare to eating a chocolate bar or smoking a cigarette or crossing a busy road? Lots of unanswered questions really. So, most people have heard this all before. Why is it news now? I think it is good to eat less processed meat but it won't stop me enjoying the occasional hotdog or pepperoni pizza or whatever it happens to be.

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