Barbecued meat increases risk of kidney cancer

People who love a good barbecue may be putting themselves at higher risk of developing kidney cancer.

Empty barbecue with flames

A new study by the University of Texas has found that meat cooked at high temperatures or over an open flame can increase the chances of getting the disease.

That’s because flame grilling or frying meat creates carcinogens called heterocyclic amines, such as PhIP and MeIQx. Since the kidneys filter toxins from the body, the researchers suggest they may be more exposed to these carcinogens.

The scientists compared the dietary habits of 659 people suffering from renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the most common form of kidney cancer, to those of a similar number of healthy people.

“We found elevated cancer risk associated with both meat intake and meat-cooking carcinogens, suggesting independent effect of meat-cooking carcinogens on RCC risk,” said professor of epidemiology Dr Xifeng Wu, the study’s senior author.

She said the findings of the research, published in the journal Cancer, supported reducing consumption of meat, especially when it is barbecued or cooked at a high temperature.

The research is the latest in a long line to underline the health hazards associated with that staple of summer evenings, the barbecue.

In 2011, a report by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health concluded that barbecuing or overcooking meat was significantly more dangerous than previously been thought. While in 2010, another University of Texas study conducted over the course of 12 years found that well-done meat can double the chances of developing bladder cancer.

In Britain every year approximately 10,000 people are diagnosed with kidney cancer, of whom more than 4,000 will die.

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