Does Lunch Meat Cause Cancer?

It doesn’t help. WebMD says, “People who eat a lot of processed meats, such as hot dogs and lunch meat, are more likely to get colon cancer. The link isn’t completely clear, but it might be because of nitrites. Those are chemicals added to food to stop bacteria and preserve color.

“Red meat also is linked to colon cancer. In general, limit the amount of red meat you eat. Instead choose other sources of protein, such as chicken, fish, or beans.”


You can take a very useful WebMD quiz at the link above that will fill you in on a number of cancers and cancer myths.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) defines it – “Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. If the spread is not controlled, it can result in death. Cancer is caused by both external factors (tobacco, infectious organisms, chemicals, and radiation) and internal factors (inherited mutations, hormones, immune conditions, and mutations that occur from metabolism).”

As a senior, I was less than thrilled to learn that aging is definitely a risk factor for cancer in general. The ACS says, “Anyone can develop cancer. Since the risk of being diagnosed with cancer increases with age, most cases occur in adults who are middle aged or older. About 77 percent of all cancers are diagnosed in persons 55 years of age and older.”

In 2012, the latest year with statistics, about 1.7 million people were expected to be diagnosed with cancer. This doesn’t include carcinoma, or the basal and squamous cell skin cancers which are not required to be reported to cancer registries. More than 1500 people a day die of cancer, or nearly 600,000 a year.

“All cancers caused by cigarette smoking and heavy use of alcohol could be prevented completely.” The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2012 about 173,200 cancer deaths will be caused by tobacco use. Emphasis mine.

I have written extensively about the dangers of smoking. Check out my page “How bad is smoking?”

Finally, before you get thoroughly depressed on Christmas Eve, what can you do to lower your chances of getting cancer? I love this part. WebMD says, “Exercise, along with healthy eating and managing your weight, can make you less likely to get certain cancers, including breast and colon cancer.

“Still, even if you are active,  get any routine cancer screenings that your doctor recommends.”

Isn’t it fascinating that exercise always ends up being part of the answer for living better and living longer.

Season’s Greetings! Be well!


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Filed under aging, cancer, Exercise, lunch meat

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