News 739 views last update:Dec 4, 2006

Bacon linked to increased risk for bladder cancer

Research suggests that people who eat bacon at least five times a week are 59% more likely to develop bladder cancer than those who don't eat it at all.

The possible culprits are chemicals called nitrosamines and heterocyclic amines, according to the Harvard University study, which appears in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Nitrosamines, known to be carcinogenic in large quantities, are usually found in high levels in bacon. Heterocyclic amines, also known carcinogens, form when meat is cooked at high temperatures.

Data studies

A team with Boston's Harvard School of Public Health studied data on nearly 136,000 people who were evaluated for up to 22 years, during which some 808 developed bladder cancer.

However, scientists also found that people who ate bacon and other processed meats were also more likely to smoke and consume more fat and fewer vitamins. They also were less likely to exercise.

Skinless chicken

The study also posits that people who frequently eat skinless chicken are 52% more likely to develop the same disease.

More research is needed to determine if causality can be established between high levels of bacon and chicken consumption and bladder cancer.

Related website:
• Harvard University

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