Trending world health organization news today, that bacon, hotdog and other processed meat are high risk cancer like colon cancer than cigarettes according (WHO).
The organization now places bacon, sausage, and hotdogs in a category of known carcinogens, a list that also includes cigarettes, diesel fumes and asbestos.
What is Carcinogens mean?
Cancer is caused by changes in a cell’s DNA – its genetic “blueprint.” Some of these changes may be inherited from our parents. Others may be caused by outside exposures, which are often referred to as environmental factors. Environmental factors can include a wide range of exposures, such as:
- Lifestyle factors (nutrition, tobacco use, physical activity, etc.)
- Naturally occurring exposures (ultraviolet light, radon gas, infectious agents, etc.)
- Medical treatments (radiation and medicines including chemotherapy, hormone drugs, drugs that suppress the immune system, etc.)
- Workplace exposures
- Household exposures
Substances and exposures that can lead to cancer are called carcinogens. Some carcinogens do not affect DNA directly, but lead to cancer in other ways. For example, they may cause cells to divide at a faster than normal rate, which could increase the chances that DNA changes will occur.
Carcinogens do not cause cancer in every case, all the time. Substances labeled as carcinogens may have different levels of cancer-causing potential. Some may cause cancer only after prolonged, high levels of exposure. And for any particular person, the risk of developing cancer depends on many factors, including how they are exposed to a carcinogen, the length and intensity of the exposure, and the person’s genetic makeup.
That doesn’t mean all the items in this category are equally likely to give you cancer. It just means that there’s sufficient evidence to support that these things can cause cancer, a conclusion that scientific study can only reach after much research.
But the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the organization within the WHO responsible for reviewing cancer research, doesn’t rank the items on this list against one another. In other words, all the items on this list can cause cancer, but do not represent the same level of risk.
WHO – World Health Organization, They estimate that 34,000 cancer deaths per year worldwide are caused by eating a diet that’s high in processed meat. You can compare that number to the 200,000 deaths/ year caused by air pollution, 600,000/year caused by alcohol consumption and 1 million deaths/year caused by cigarettes according to the Global Burden of Disease Project, another WHO research body.
The WHO also placed red meat—beef, lamb and pork—in the next-to-highest cancer risk category. That means red meat is a “probable” carcinogen, but the organization said they still need further data to confirm this and that in limited quantities it may have some nutritional benefits.
Setting the misleading headlines aside, there’s still plenty of reasons to quit eating heavily processed industrial meat. Producing processed and red meat has a much heavier environmental burden than plant-based foods, requiring more water and land, and creating more pollution and greenhouse gases. If more people choose to eat less meat for personal health reasons, there could be a decrease in the amount of resources these meat products gobble up.
And much like smoking cigarettes, increasing your exposure to processed meat increases your risk of cancer, and may also put you at a higher risk for other health problems like heart disease and obesity.
So, even if starting every morning with a sausage breakfast isn’t as likely to kill you as starting your morning with a cigarette, neither is a good choice.