Pork and Cancer
Cancer is a serious disease, characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells in the body. Some observational studies have claimed to found a link between red meat consumption and the risk of colon cancer. Other studies found no significant effects.
It is difficult to prove that either red meat or pork actually can lead to cancer in humans. This is because observational studies can only detect potential associations, but cannot provide any evidence for a direct cause-and-effect relationship. However, OVERCOOKED meat may contain a number of carcinogenic substances, most notably heterocyclic amines, which can affect humans.
Heterocyclic amines are a family of unhealthy substances found in relatively high amounts in well-done and overcooked meat, fish, or other sources of animal protein.
They are formed when animal protein, such as pork, is exposed to very high temperatures during grilling, barbecuing, baking, or frying. Studies have shown that foods high in heterocyclic amines may raise the risk of several types of cancer, such as colon, breast, and prostate cancer. The role of meat consumption in the development of cancer is unclear. Although there is no hard evidence for the carcinogenicity of meat, there are plenty of hints.
In the context of a healthy diet, moderate intake of mildly cooked pork probably does not increase the risk of cancer, but for optimal health, it seems sensible to limit the consumption of overcooked pork.
Bottom Line: The consumption of hogs & pork dates back as far as 13,000 B.C. For over 15,000 years humans have been eating pork (and other red meats) without any significant problems. In itself, pork or red meat is probably not a risk factor for cancer. However, high consumption of overcooked meat could be a cause for concern.