Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Bacon tied to greater bladder cancer risk - Yahoo! News

Bacon tied to greater bladder cancer risk - Yahoo! News

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Indulging in bacon too frequently may be hazardous to your health, a new study suggests, while taking the skin off your chicken before you cook it might not be so good for you either.

Dr. Dominique S. Michaud of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and her colleagues found that people who ate bacon five times a week or more were nearly 60-percent more likely to develop bladder cancer, while those who ate skinless chicken this frequently had a 52-percent greater risk of the disease.

Some meat products contain nitrosamines, which are known to cause bladder cancer, Michaud and her team note in their report, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. But the studies that have attempted to investigate the meat-bladder cancer link have been small and most have not separated out the effects of different types of meat.

To better understand the relationship, Michaud and her team looked at data for 47,422 men and 88,471 women participating in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and the Nurse's Health Study, respectively. Participants were followed for up to 22 years, during which time 808 developed bladder cancer.

People who ate bacon and other processed meats frequently were also more likely to smoke and to take in more fat and fewer vitamins, the researchers found. They were also less likely to exercise.

The association between the total meat consumption and bladder cancer was not statistically significant. But those who ate bacon five or more times per week were 59-percent more likely to develop bladder cancer than those who never did. Also, men and women who ate chicken this often were 52-percent more likely to develop bladder cancer than those who never ate skinless chicken.

Compared with skinless chicken, cooked chicken with skin is known to contain a smaller amount of heterocyclic amines, carcinogenic compounds that form when meat is cooked at high temperatures, the researchers note.

The researchers suggest that nitrosamines, heterocyclic amines, or both are responsible for the health effects of bacon seen in the current study, but they note that their findings must be confirmed by other research teams before any conclusions can be made.

SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 2006.