Did the World Health Organization (WHO) say that processed meat is as likely to cause cancer as smoking? No.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the WHO, found that scientific evidence is now strong enough to say that processed meat can cause cancer, specifically colorectal cancer. Like smoking, and exposure to asbestos, it's considered beyond doubt that eating processed meat increases your risk of developing cancer. That doesn't mean it increases your risk by anywhere near an equivalent amount.
"In the normal run of things, around 6 in every 100 people would be expected to get bowel cancer in their lifetime. If all these 100 people ate a three-rasher (around 50g) bacon sandwich every single day of their lives, then according to this report we would expect that 18% more would get bowel cancer — which is a rise from 6 cases to 7 cases. So that's one extra case of bowel cancer in all those 100 lifetime bacon-eaters."
In contrast, the chance of getting lung cancer in the UK increases from around one in 100 if you don't smoke throughout your lifetime to more than 20 in 100 if you smoke a pack of cigarettes every day. That's according to Professor Kevin McConway at The Open University. And lung cancer isn't the only type of cancer caused by smoking.
Isn't it nice to have the whole picture?
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