Processed Meat & Cancer – How They’re Linked

A Can Of Tuna Sits Open On A Table With A Fork Beside It.

Processed Meats and Cancer Connection

Processed meats — sausages, lunch meats, and other meats that have been preserved in some form should be avoided for a healthier life and to prevent cancer. 

The British Journal of Cancer found a new link in eating processed meats and the formation of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is one of the types of cancers that boast the highest mortality rate amongst all cancers. The study confirms that eating processed meats daily increases the risk of developing pancreatic cancer up to 38 percent. The data was gathered from 11 clinical trials and over 6,000 pancreatic cancer patients and concluded that this deadly condition can be caused by what is in your refrigerator.

Pancreatic cancer is classified the fourth most common cause of cancer death in the United States.

Although it is not as common as many other cancers, it is responsible for 6 percent of cancer deaths each year. In 2010, it was estimated that over 40,000 people were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It has been found that 95 percent of pancreatic cancer victims die within 5 years of diagnosis.

The use of preserving agents such as nitrites was found to be the link in the production of cancer. These agents have been known to be severe carcinogens for many years. Despite numerous scientific studies confirming the link, processed meats have suspiciously stayed on the market. The methods used for processing meats include preserving, canning, freezing, refrigeration, and dehydration. Many processed meats are made with unhealthy trans-fats, saturated fats, and large amounts of sodium and sugar.

Processed Meats Found to be High in Nitrates/Nitrites

  • Canned meats and corned beef
  • Smoked fish and meats
  • Summer sausage, breakfast sausage, and bacon
  • Frozen fish sticks and all other frozen prepared dinners
  • Hot dogs, bologna, ham, turkey roll, and turkey breast
  • Liverwurst, pastrami, prosciutto, roast beef, salami, and pepperoni
  • Beef jerkies, Slim Jims, meat sticks, and other dried meat snacks

There are several meat sources for sausages including beef, pork, mutton, veal, and poultry. Meat by-products are also commonly used such as lips, tripe, pork stomachs and heart. These processed foods and prepackaged meals are very convenient and popular.

Read the Fine Print – The Processed Meat Food Label:

  • Chemical Free: this term is not allowed to be put on any processed meats.
  • Corn syrup: Sugar that is used as a flavoring agent and sweetener in meat and poultry products.
  • Emulsifier: Added to products such as meat spreads to prevent separation of product.
  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG): MSG is a flavor enhancer.
  • Phosphates: The two primary effects in meat and poultry products are moisture retention and flavor protection.
  • Sodium nitrite: Used alone or in conjunction with sodium nitrate as a color fixative in cured meats and poultry products.
  • Texturizers/Stabilizers/Thickeners: Used in foods to help maintain uniform texture or consistency.

Becoming an informed consumer can be the most important factor in protecting you and your family. Common processed meats can increase the risk of developing cancer — studies have linked nitrates to many other forms of cancer as well. These cancers include, but not limited to oral cavity, urinary bladder, esophagus, stomach, and brain.