Burden of cancer attributable to excess red and processed meat consumption in Japan in 2015

Abe SK, Takachi R, Ishihara J, Hirabayashi M, Saito E, Hori M, Katanoda K, Matsuda T, Inoue M; the Cancer PAF Japan Collaborators


The International Agency for Research on Cancer has evaluated red meat as probably carcinogenic and processed meat as carcinogenic to humans. The World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research concluded there is convincing evidence that consumption of processed meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer. We estimated the number and fraction of cancer incidence and mortality in 2015 that could be attributed to excess red and processed meat consumption in 2005 among the Japanese population. Data on the consumption of red and ptocessed meat, in g/day, by sex and age group, is available for 2005 from the Japanese National Health and Nutrition Survey. For the present study, the optimal consumption of red meat in Japan was considered as less than 500 g/week, or 71.4 g/day, and 0 g/day for processed meat. Population attributable fractions (PAFs) were calculated for each sex and age group according to a standard formula, and aggregated to obtain the PAF among total cancer incidence and mortality. We found that 0.01% and 0.4% of cancer incidence was attributable to red and processed meat consumption, respectively, while 0.0002% and 0.3% of cancer mortality was attributable to red meat and to processed meat consumption. Based on the current evidence, monitoring red and processed meat consumption may not contribute to reducing cancer incidence and mortality in Japan.

KEYWORDS: cancer, red meat, processed meat, population attributable fraction, Japan

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