, 8 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
"Even moderate red and processed meat eaters at risk of bowel cancer" screams the headline. But how true is this?
1) everyone in the study, average age 55 at the start was at risk of bowel cancer - a risk of 0.5% over 6.7 years.
2) those eating most meat or processed meat had a bowel cancer risk of about 0.6%
That's an increase in risk of 0.1% (or 20% in relative terms. But wait, there's more.
3) download the supplementary data - highest meat or processed meat consumption was NOT associated with increased risk in women. At all.
That's half the planet being scared right now by an association only seen in men.
Why wasn't this part reported properly?
4) One of the study's authors said she didn't have a problem with the media reporting this as "meat causes cancer", because the WHO has labelled meat as a carcinogen. But, this isn't how science works - that was no peer review or rebuttal process, just a vote among 27 people.
5) and if meat really is a carcinogen, why isn't it associated with cancer in women?
Remember, average age at start was 55, so iron loss during menstruation was not an important factor.
6) could it be that mean eating more meat, in a population long told that eating meat's risky, will take more risks overall, or work in more polluted industries than women or men eating less meat?
7) This is how Auckland University, home to one of the researchers, reported the study - with no mention of the fact that there was no association between meat and cancer in women.
An important fact if you think this study has any meaning.
8) Not mentioning sex differences in scientific research can have adverse consequences for women's health.
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