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Research Article

A Prospective Study of Red and Processed Meat Intake in Relation to Cancer Risk

  • Amanda J Cross mail,

    To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: crossa@mail.nih.gov

    Affiliation: Nutritional Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, Maryland, United States of America

    X
  • Michael F Leitzmann,

    Affiliation: Nutritional Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, Maryland, United States of America

    X
  • Mitchell H Gail,

    Affiliation: Biostatistics Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, Maryland, United States of America

    X
  • Albert R Hollenbeck,

    Affiliation: AARP, Washington DC, United States of America

    X
  • Arthur Schatzkin,

    Affiliation: Nutritional Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, Maryland, United States of America

    X
  • Rashmi Sinha

    Affiliation: Nutritional Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, Maryland, United States of America

    X
  • Published: December 11, 2007
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0040325

Reader Comments (10)

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Playing With Statistics

Posted by plosmedicine on 31 Mar 2009 at 00:17 GMT

Author: Roger Wilson
Position: No occupation was given
Institution: No affiliation was given
E-mail: ibio@earthlink.net
Submitted Date: December 11, 2007
Published Date: December 12, 2007
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

Since the authors failed to state the normal cancer risk for each type of cancer in the general population, their claims of increased risk are meaningless. If the risk of rectal cancer is 3%, a whopping 60% increase in risk is NOT 63% (as most medical health scare articles try to imply to the public with their statistics), but 4.8%. That means that you would have 4.8 chances in 100 of getting the cancer, as opposed to 3 chances in 100. This is well within the statistical error of global sampling that would be required to provide a meaningful number. If a risk of ANYTHING went from 3 chances per 100 to 4.8 chances per hundred---is this going to keep you up at night? Of course not. But the medical boogeymen want you scared. Maybe lots of meat isn't good for you (moderation is a good philosophy), but this is junk science.

No competing interests declared.