Although most studies, by themselves, do not prove the relationships between the factors that may cause cancer, a more comprehensive body of work is more revealing.
In that vein, a potentially important study involving nearly half a million older adults between the ages of 50 and 70 was recently shared in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. The study followed the adults for about 10 years, and the participants filled out detailed surveys regarding their diets and overall health factors.
The study found that there are positive associations between red meat intake and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Researchers also noted a positive association between DiMeIQx intake and gastric cardia cancer.
DiMelQx is part of a series of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that are formed in food during high-temperature heating such as over an open flame. HCA were found in previous studies to cause cancer in lab rats.
Although the most recent study cannot pinpoint a direct link between red meat consumption and the above types of cancer, the findings do seem somewhat convincing in this area.
The researchers found that 215 participants developed esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. The researchers then divided these people into quintiles and looked at the statistics for those in the top, and bottom, 20 percent in red meat intake. There were 28 cases among participants who consumed the least red meat (including processed meat), and 69 cases among those who consumed the most.
When taking outside factors such as weight and smoking into account, the researchers concluded that participants who ate the most red meat were 79 percent more likely to develop esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
A total of 454 participants were informed they had gastric cardia cancer during the study. Of these, 57 cases were reported among participants who ate the least amount of red meat, while there were 113 cases among those with the highest intake. After including outside factors, researchers concluded that people who consumed the most red meat were 44 percent more likely to be diagnosed with gastric cardia cancer.
This type of study, in which people are followed over a long period of time, is considered by the medical community to be sound research – at least as compared to studies that attempt to obtain information from people after they have already been diagnosed with a certain disease or condition.
This particular study was carried out by the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute, located in Rockville, Maryland. A 2007 study was performed by non-profit organizations World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research. Those groups found that there is a “limited suggestive increased risk” of esophageal cancer associated with the intake of red and processed meats.