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Eating too much red meat may cause stomach cancer

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By David Liu, PH.D.

Sunday Aug 14, 2011 (foodconsumer.org) -- Eating too much red meat which is high in heme iron may increase risk of gastric cancer or stomach cancer, a new study in the June 2011 issue of International Journal of Cancer.

The study found doubled intake of heme iron was associated with a 13 percent increased risk of gastric Cancer after adjustment for other cofactors including sex, age, body mass index, education, smoking status, and energy intake.

The association resulted from an analysis of data from 481,000 men and women of whom 444 incident cases of gastric cancer were identified. Subjects participated in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EURGAST-EPIC).

Jakszyn P. and colleagues at Catalan Institute of Oncology in Barcelona, Spain, authors of the study said their previous studies had shown a positive correlation between eating red and procesed meat and non-cardia gastric cancer, particularly in those infected with Helicobacter pylori.

Helicobacter pylori in the stomach is known to produce cancer-causing compounds when a person ingests too much salt or eating salty foods like preserved fish, which is common in Asian countries.

The researchers also found the association between heme iron and risk of gastric cancer was statistically significant among those who had their plasma vitamin C below 39 mmol/L.

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