Salt, processed meat and the risk of cancer

Jinfu Hu, Carlo La Vecchia, Howard Morrison, Eva Negri, Les Mery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study assesses the association between salt added atthe table, processed meat and the risk of various cancers. Mailed questionnaires were completed by 19 732patients with histologically confirmed incident cancer of the stomach, colon, rectum, pancreas, lung, breast, ovary, prostate, testis, kidney, bladder, brain, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma or leukaemia, and 5039 population controls,between 1994 and 1997. Measurement included information on socioeconomic status, lifestyle habits and diet. A 69-item food frequency questionnaire provided dataon eating habits 2 years before the study. Odds ratiosand 95% confidence intervals were derived through unconditional logistic regression. Compared with never adding salt at the table, always or often adding salt at the table was associated with an increased risk of stomach, lung, testicular and bladder cancer. Processed meat was significantly related to the risk of the stomach, colon, rectum, pancreas, lung, prostate, testis, kidney and bladdercancer and leukaemia; the odds ratios for the highest quartile ranged from 1.3 to 1.7. The findings addtothe evidence that high consumption of salt and processed meat may play a role in the aetiology of several cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-139
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Prevention
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


  • Odds ratios
  • processed meat
  • salt
  • unconditional logistic regression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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