WEDNESDAY, July 28 (HealthDay News) -- Certain compounds used in meat processing may increase the risk of bladder cancer, a new study from the National Institutes of Health and the AARP shows.
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U.S. researchers analyzed data from about 300,000 men and women, aged 50 to 71, from eight states who took part in a large prospective study on diet and health. At the start of the study in 1995/96, the participants provided information about their lifestyle and dietary habits. During eight years of follow-up, 854 participants were diagnosed with bladder cancer.
People whose diets had the highest levels of dietary nitrite (from all sources and not just from meat) and those whose diets had the highest amounts of nitrate plus nitrite from processed meats were 28 percent to 29 percent more likely to develop bladder cancer than those who consumed the lowest amounts of those compounds, according to the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study.
The results may explain why previous studies have identified an association between consumption of processed meats and increased bladder cancer risk, the researchers said.
The study appears online Aug. 2 in the journal Cancer.
"Our findings highlight the importance of studying meat-related compounds to better understand the association between meat and cancer risk," study author Amanda J. Cross, of the U.S. National Cancer Institute, noted in an NCI news release.
"Comprehensive epidemiologic data on meat-related exposures and bladder cancer are lacking; our findings should be followed up in other prospective studies," she added.
Previous research has linked consumption of red and processed meats to increased risk for a several different types of cancer.
-- Robert Preidt
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SOURCE: Cancer, August 2, 2010, news release.