Hamburger May Boost Cancer Risk

There is yet another reason to avoid eating too much red meat, especially hamburger.

In a study of more than 35,000 women up to age 69, researchers at the University of Iowa found that those who ate more than four servings of red meat a month had twice the risk of getting non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph system, compared with those who had less than four servings.

Those who consumed the most hamburger had more than twice the risk of the disease.

The study, to be published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that those who ate the most fruit had lower incidence of the disease.

This is the first major study that has linked red meat with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that has increased 73 percent in the past two decades, especially among older people.

Other studies have linked red meat and saturated fats with colon cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer and melanoma, as well as heart disease.

“Fat influences the immune system and this is a cancer of the immune system,” said Dr. James Cerhan, the lead investigator. He said that an excess of protein also might play a role in stimulating the cancer.

“This is not a new concept: Too much fat and too little fruits and vegetables increase the risk of cancer,” said Dr. Moshe Shike at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

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