Study finds no connection between processed red meat and increased risk of bladder cancer

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There is no association between consumption of fresh or processed red meat and an increased risk of bladder cancer, according to a new analysis of data published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.   

The researchers, led by Paula Jakszyn from the Catalan Institute of Oncology in Spain, also noted that their analysis showed no link between nitrosamines and heme iron and bladder cancer risk. 

“To our knowledge this is the first prospective study of heme iron intake and bladder cancer risk,” the researchers wrote.  “The strengths of this study include its large size, prospective design and inclusion of potential confounding variables.”   

In light of inconsistent results from previous epidemiological studies, Jakszyn and her team investigated the association between red meat consumption, dietary nitrosamines and heme iron and the risk of bladder cancer among participants of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). 

The result was no overall association between intake of red meat, nitrosamines or heme iron and bladder cancer risk.  According to the analysis, the associations did not vary by sex, high versus low risk bladder cancers, smoking status or occupation.  At the same time, when assessing red and processed meat separately, there were no differences observed. 

EPIC is a study of 520,000 people from 10 European countries (Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom) that investigates the relationships between diet, nutritional status, lifestyle and environmental factors and the incidence of cancer and other chronic diseases.

To read the complete details and methods of the study, visit

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