If you’re a woman and a regular consumer of red meat, you may want to consider making some dietary changes.
In recent years, studies have shown links between red meat and Alzheimer’s disease, heart failure, and accelerated aging. However, a new study conducted in the UK shows that red meat may also increase a women’s risk of developing colon cancer.
Data was collected from 32,147 women who were selected as part of a Women’s Cohort Study in Scotland, Wales, and England. They were tracked for 17 years and during this time, 462 cases of colorectal cancer were discovered, 119 of which was distal colon cancer.
Distal colon cancer is cancer of the descending colon which is the left side, as well as the ‘S’ section which connects to the rectum. The study showed that there may be a reduced risk of distal colon cancer in women who did not consume red meat, but an increased risk for those who did.
In April this year, researchers from the University of Leeds completed an analysis on that initial study and published it in the International Journal of Cancer. It was titled ‘Common dietary patterns and risk of cancers of the colon and rectum’ and involved research into various food products and their connection with distal colon cancer. Out of poultry, fish, vegetarian and red meat diets, higher rates of distal colon cancer were discovered in those whose diet included red meat.
While further analysis and more extensive studies are required to prove the connection further, it is thought that reducing your red meat intake, or cutting it out altogether, may reduce your risk of developing this form of cancer.
Australia is a country of meat eaters, outranking even the United States on consumption. New Zealanders, on the other hand, are eating less meat than ever before, with one in 10 Kiwis choosing to follow a vegetarian lifestyle. While both countries have improvements to make, this study could go a long way to reducing the risk of colon cancer and helping both Australians and New Zealanders to make better food choices.
Given that bowel cancer, made up of colon and rectal cancers, is the third most diagnosed cancer in Australia, and the most commonly reported cancer in New Zealand, it’s crucial to make lifestyle changes to reduce your risk. If you require more information or advice, consult your doctor.
Medical Daily – Red Meat Associated With Risk Of Distal Colon Cancer In Women: Study
Stuff – The average Kiwi eats 20kg less red meat amid concerns over sustainability of agriculture
Bowel Cancer Australia – Bowel Cancer – The Facts
NZ Herald – NZ regions with highest bowel cancer rates