Biological Links Between Eating Red Meat and Cancer

Biological Links Between Eating Red Meat and Cancer

The advice of eating less red meat is standard for preventing colorectal (colon and rectum) cancer, but how it causes cells to mutate is still unclear, and all experts were not convinced that there was a strong link.

According to a new paper in the journal Cancer Discovery, specific patterns of DNA damage were triggered by diets rich in red meat. It leads to further associating the food as a carcinogen while indicating the possibility of early cancer detection and designing of new treatments.

As per the previous research, establishing the connection was primarily epidemiologic, which means that people who were diagnosed with the condition were surveyed on their eating habits, and researchers identified associations with colorectal cancer incidence.

But as there was no clarity around the biology, it meant that the case wasn’t quite sure. In 2019, a team of researchers caused trouble when they announced that they only had less certainty that reducing consumption would prevent cancer deaths.

“If we say red meat is cancer-causing, and that it affects the incidence of cancer, some reasonable way has to be there by which it does it,” stated Dana-Farber Cancer Institute oncologist Marios Giannakis, who led the new study.

Ultimately, scientists discovered long back which chemicals in cigarette smoke are behind cancer, and how certain bands of UV light enter into the skin and trigger mutations in genes that control cell growth and division.

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To cater to the knowledge gap, Giannakis and his colleagues collected DNA data from 900 patients with colorectal cancer, drawn from 280,000 health workers participating in years-long studies that comprised lifestyle surveys.