Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Processed Meat May Up Stomach Cancer

Researchers Say Findings of Cancer Risk Were Most Consistent for Consumption of Bacon
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Aug. 1, 2006 -- The more processed meat a person eats, the more likely they may be to develop stomach cancerstomach cancer , according to a new research review.

But the review, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, doesn't call processed meats a cause of stomach cancer. There's not enough evidence for that, write the researchers.

Editor's Note: Food Pyramid Replaced

In June 2011, the USDA replaced the food pyramid with a new plate icon.

They included Susanna Larsson, MSc. She works in Stockholm, Sweden, at the Karolinska Institute's nutritionnutrition epidemiology division.

Larsson and colleagues reviewed 15 studies on stomach cancer and processed meats, which included bacon, sausage, hot dogs, salami, ham, and smoked or cured meat.

The studies were published from 1966 through 2006 and came from Europe and North America and South America.

The studies included hundreds or, in some cases, thousands of people. They reported how much processed meat they ate.

Tracking Processed Meat Consumption

Categories of processed meat consumption varied widely, ranging from less than 1 gram per day to more than 56 daily grams.

The top of that range is about two servings of meats and beans on the U.S. Agriculture Department's "My Pyramid" food pyramid.

The studies didn't all use the same standards. So Larsson's team bundled all the data together and did their own analysis.

They found that higher intake of processed meats was associated with a greater risk of stomach cancer. "Findings were most consistent for bacon consumption," the researchers write.

Caution on Results

The researchers, who aren't giving any dietary advice, note that other factors may be involved.

For instance, the studies didn't adjust for infection with the Helicobacter pylori bacterium.

Stomach cancer is strongly linked to Helicobacter pylori infection, though most people with Helicobacter pylori infection don't get stomach cancer.

Also, some groups of people may be more vulnerable than others to stomach cancer due to factors that aren't yet understood, the researchers note.

Today on WebMD

Colorectal cancer cells
New! I AM Not Cancer Facebook Group
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Ovarian cancer illustration
Real Cancer Perspectives
Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
what is your cancer risk
colorectal cancer treatment advances
breast cancer overview slideshow
prostate cancer overview
lung cancer overview slideshow
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
Actor Michael Douglas