For the analysis, the authors looked at 26 population studies. Nineteen of the studies were case-control, where participants with and without colorectal adenomas recalled their past diet; the rest of the studies were prospective, where researchers first asked about the participants’ diet then the people were followed over time to see who developed colorectal adenomas.
For all the studies together, consuming both red and processed meat linked to close to a 30 percent higher risk of having colorectal adenomas. For every 50 grams of processed meat eaten a day – about 1 hot dog (2 ounces) – there was a 29 percent increased risk. Every 100 grams of red meat consumed a day – about one burger (4 ounces) – linked to a 27 percent increased risk of colorectal adenomas.
It’s possible that people consuming a lot of red and processed meat are less likely to undergo screenings, note the authors, which may account for the findings. Yet these findings are similar to those of red and processed meat consumption and increased colorectal cancer risk overall. And although more studies are need, this offers clues as to how diet is implicated in colon cancer development.
AICR estimates Americans could prevent half of the cases of colorectal cancer that occur each year with diet, activity, and staying lean. The latest CUP report findings on preventing colorectal cancer are on the Colorectal Cancer page.