Andrew Ducker (andrewducker) wrote,
Andrew Ducker

When reporting annoys me

The BBC reports that we should cut our processed meat intake if we want to avoid cancer.

Of course, they don't actually mention what the chances are of us getting cancer, nor what the change that processed meat causes is, thus making it completely impossible for readers to make an informed decision.

Fortunately, a look at the basic research shows that there is a definite increased risk, although my understanding isn't good enough to tell me exactly what it is.  Anyone care to dig into those figures and tell me what the percentage chance of me getting rectal cancer is both with and without meat-eating?


Of the 500,000 people (age 51-70) in the study, 50,000 of them got cancer in the following 8 years. So if you live to be 50-odd then you have a 10% chance of getting cancer. If you eat meat then your chances of getting cancer are 20-60% higher than if you don't. Which presumably means that your chances are nearer 6-7% if you don't. So, an extra 3% chance of getting cancer in your old age if you eat meat.

Hardly worth panicking about.

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