For bacon and hot dog lovers, the news of another study linking processed meats to cancer doesn’t come easily.
But daily consumption of processed meats isn’t the only thing tied to increased cancer risk: A new report published Wednesday outlines three behaviours that have been associated with an increased risk of developing stomach cancer, one of the most common cancer types.
The report, from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), examined studies that looked at factors that have a relationship to stomach cancer.
They found that in particular that high body fat percentage, high alcohol intake, and high intake of processed meats had the strongest evidence of a link to risk of stomach cancer. There was some limited evidence that people who eat more grilled and barbecued meats and fish may be at slightly greater risk of stomach cancer compared to those who eat less.
They found a bright spot in the research as well: There was some evidence to suggest that high citrus fruit intake was linked with a decrease in stomach cancer risk.
Stomach cancer deaths is the fifth most common cancer type, according to the WCRF, though it only accounts for about 2% of all cancer deaths as of 2012. when at increased levels of body fatness,, and 50 grams of processed meats daily
More about the 3 behaviours that were linked with an increased stomach cancer risk:
- Body fatness — Researchers found that for each 5-unit increase in people’s body mass index, or BMI, they had roughly a 23% increase in their risk of cardia cancer (cardia refers to the part of the stomach where the esophagus empties into the stomach). This means that, though the average risk for stomach cancer for most people is still fairly low, it was somewhat higher in people with significantly higher BMI. And keep in mind, too, that BMI remains somewhat controversial as an overall predictor of health.
- Alcohol intake — Researchers found an increased risk of stomach cancer in people who consumed more than three drinks a day (which is defined as ‘high’ by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; ‘moderate’ drinking is defined as two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women). The increased risk link was stronger in men than in women.
- Processed meats — Researchers found that among people who ate 50 grams of processed meat — meats preserved using smoke or salt like bacon, hot dogs, or pastrami — per day (about the equivalent of a hot dog) there was a roughly 18% increase in the risk of developing stomach cancer.
Again, these findings mean that, while the average risk for stomach cancer for most people remains fairly low, it may be somewhat higher in people who drink more than three alcoholic beverages per day, eat more than 50 grams of processed meat each day, or have a high BMI.