“Junkman” Steve Milloy Rips National Cancer Institute Red Meat Colon Cancer Study

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Commentary from JunkScience.com writer Steve Milloy openly questions a recent study from the National Cancer Institute concluding high consumption of red and processed meat may increase the risk of colon cancer.

Commentary from JunkScience.com writer Steve Milloy openly questions a recent study from the National Cancer Institute concluding high consumption of red and processed meat may increase the risk of colon cancer. Milloy cites weak statistics and unreliability of the researchers data as reasons for being skeptical of the new JAMA report. “The data for the study was initially collected by 77,000 untrained volunteers who interviewed family and friends about their lifestyle habits. None of this lifestyle data was verified or validated. Exactly what and how much the study subjects ate, smoked, drank, and how much they exercised is really anybody’s guess. And forget about reliable information on genetic predisposition to colon cancer, which is thought to be a major risk factor,” Milloy states in the column.

Milloy is not alone in his criticism of the JAMA report. The Center for Consumer Freedom called the report “cherry-picked from largely inconclusive evidence.”

The JAMA report is based on a study of roughly 140,000 adults aged 50 to 74 years who provide meat consumption information in 1982 and again in 1992/1993. The study notes a 50 percent increase in distal cancer risk for consumers of processed meats; a 53 percent risk for those with the highest ratio of meat to chicken and fish consumption; and a 71 percent increase among high consumers of red meat.

Milloy believes the distal cancer risks noted above are more due to chance than good science. “With respect to the claims concerning distal cancer risk, both results are of unimpressive size -- risks smaller than 100 percent don’t have much credibility -- and they are of borderline statistical significance -- meaning that there is a good possibility that the results are due to chance,” said Milloy.

Milloy also cites The National Cancer Institute’s Rashmi Sinha’s history of trying to use weak data to link meat consumption with cancer. To read Milloy’s article in its entirety, go to http://www.junkscience.com/jan05/meatcancer.htm. The Center for Consumer Freedom piece can be found at http://www.consumerfreedom.com/news_detail.cfm/headline/2724.

Steven Milloy publishes http://www.JunkScience.com and http://www.CSRwatch.com, is adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and is the author of Junk Science Judo: Self-defense Against Health Scares and Scams (Cato Institute, 2001).

Contact: Steve Milloy

Email: stevenmilloy@yahoo.com                            

Phone: 301-258-9320

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