Don't shoot the messenger... but it's more bad news for meat lovers

If you were dismayed to hear about the World Health Organisation’s decision that red meat was likely to cause cancer, avert your eyes.

New research released today has determined another link between eating red meat and kidney cancer – and that the way we cook our meat could put us more at risk.

Published in CANCER, the journal of the American Cancer Society, the study also find that genetic predisposition when combined cooking up a few steaks on the barbie greatly increases our risk renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the most common form of kidney cancer.

Incidences of this cancer have been rising in the United States and other developed nations like Australia and investigators suspect factors related to a western lifestyle—such as a diet high in meats, processed foods, and starches—may play an important role in this trend.

To investigate, a team led by Xifeng Wu from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, studied the dietary intake and genetic risk factors of 659 patients newly diagnosed with RCC and 699 healthy controls.

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The researchers found that kidney cancer patients consumed more red and white meat compared with cancer-free individuals. Also, cancer patients consumed more cancer-causing chemicals that are produced when meat is cooked at high temperatures or over an open flame (particularly pan-frying or barbecuing).

While the study was small, the findings suggest that reducing consumption of meat, especially when cooked at high temperatures or over an open flame, could reduce the risk of developing kidney disease, especially when those with a genetic predisposition were identified.

More than 3000 Australians are diagnosed with kidney cancer each year.

Have these recent studies got you thinking about how much meat you eat? Will it affect the way you eat?