Bacon, ham and sausages 'as big a cancer threat  as smoking', WHO to warn
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The WHO is expected to publish a report listing processed meat as a cancer-causing substance with the highest of five possible rankings Global health experts are to warn that bacon, ham and sausages are as big a cancer threat as cigarettes, it has been reported.  The World Health Organisation (WHO) will publish a report on Monday on the dangers of eating processed meats. It is expected to list processed meat as a cancer-causing substance, while fresh red meat is also expected to be regarded as bad for health, the Daily Mail said.  The classifications, by the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer, are believed to regard processed meat as "carcinogenic to humans", the highest of five possible rankings, shared with alcohol, asbestos, arsenic and cigarettes. The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has warned for several years that there is "strong evidence" that consuming a lot of red meat can cause bowel cancer. It also says there is "strong evidence" that processed meats - even in smaller quantities - increase cancer risk.  One possible reason is that the compound that gives red meat its colour, haem, may damage the lining of the bowel. In addition, when meat is preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or by adding preservatives, cancer-causing substances (carcinogens) can be formed. Studies also show that people who eat a lot of red meat tend to eat fewer plant-based foods that protect against cancer. The WCRF advises that people can reduce their bowel cancer risk by eating no more than 500g (cooked weight) per week of red meat, such as beef, pork and lamb. It also says people should eat processed meats such as ham, bacon and salami as little as possible.  Foods like hamburgers, minced beef, pork chops and roast lamb are also regarded as red meat. As a rough guide, the WCRF says 500g of cooked red meat is the same as 700g of raw red meat. • Processed meat blamed for one in 30 early deaths Processed meat is meat which has been preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or by the addition of preservatives. Examples include ham, bacon, pastrami and salami, as well as hot dogs and some sausages. How much red meat do we eat? The average person in the UK has 2.5oz (70g) meat a day 3oz (88g) among men, 2oz (52g) among women) but 33 per cent have more than 3.5oz (100g) a day. Cancer 2.5 million Number of people living with cancer in the UK 46% Percentage of deaths due to cancer of the breast, lung, prostate and bowel (2012) 50% Adults diagnosed with cancer survive for ten years or more (2010/11) 1 in 4 People facing poor health or disability after cancer treatment 28% Cancer deaths caused by smoking 65+ Age group with highest risk of getting cancer 30 Number of children diagnosed with cancer every week Source:     Macmillan Cancer Support, Cancer Research UK
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