By David Gutierrez, NaturalNews.com
Men eat much more processed meat than women and are less likely to know that processed meat consumption has been linked to bowel (colorectal) cancer, according to a poll conducted for the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).
"The evidence that eating processed meat increases bowel cancer risk is convincing and this is why we recommend people avoid eating it," said the WCRF's Rachel Thompson. "But despite the strength of the evidence, awareness levels are low and this seems to especially be the case in men. This is a concern because, as men eat roughly double the amount of processed meat as women do, they could make a bigger difference to their cancer risk by cutting down."
The researchers found that men in the United Kingdom eat approximately 50 grams (1.8 ounces) of processed meats such as bacon, ham, salami and sausage per day. In contrast, British women eat only 24 grams of processed meat per day.
Research suggests that eating 50 grams of processed meat per day -- roughly equivalent to two slices of bacon -- increases a person's risk of bowel cancer by 20 percent. Yet the WCRF poll of 2,000 adults found that only 41 percent of women and 36 percent of men were aware of this risk. Only 63 percent of respondents knew that a poor diet can increase the risk of cancer, and only 60 percent knew that being overweight also increases cancer risk.
Researchers believe that one in ten cases of bowel cancer could be averted if everyone kept their consumption to less than 70 grams per week.
"It is important to emphasize that while we recommend avoiding processed meat, this is not a question of all or nothing," Thompson said. "If you do not want to give up processed meat altogether, you can still make a real difference to your cancer risk by cutting down from, for example, having a bacon sandwich every day to only having one a couple of times a week."