A crucial step has been overlooked in a current media story about bladder cancer risk, giving rise to doubt over the results, according to Beef and Lamb New Zealand.

Scientific research goes through a rigorous review process before being published in academic journals.  This is vitally important when research findings influence advice on what consumers should eat and how they live their lives.

This crucial step has been overlooked in the present story about bladder cancer risk, giving rise to doubt over the results, according to Beef + Lamb New Zealand, which markets beef and lamb within New Zealand.  The story arises from preliminary findings of a study from Houston, Texas, presented in Washington DC last week.

“It’s like looking at a half-finished jigsaw and trying to guess the rest of the picture,” says Beef + Lamb New Zealand Nutrition Manager, Fiona Carruthers.

“The study appears to show over-cooked or charred meat, chicken and fish may increase bladder cancer risk, but only when eaten in large quantities, and with some people more susceptible than others.”

Ms Carruthers says coverage of studies such as this one before being published is potentially misleading.  Conclusions cannot be determined until all the details are known, but she says promoting healthy, safe cooking methods for all meat, chicken and fish remains very important when considering carcinogenic risks to overall health.

Cancer experts advise eating well, being active, not smoking and maintaining a healthy body weight protect you more from cancer rather than avoidance of specific, individual foods.  “To the best of my knowledge, at present there is no evidence that moderate intakes of red meat cause any harm in terms of cancer. Reducing the incidence and prevalence of obesity remain the most critical factors in cancer risk reduction”, says Professor Jim Mann from the University of Otago.

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