The World Health Organization evaluated results from more than 800 studies from around the globe on whether or not processed meats are implicated in causing cancer among those who eat them. Their conclusion is that processed meats – those that are cured, salted or otherwise treated – do indeed raise the probability of contracting cancer. This information puts sausage, ham and other processed meats in the same category as asbestos and cigarette smoking.
It would be enough to warn busy medical assistants and medical assistant trainees against grabbing a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich on their way to work or classes at the Allen School. However, it is also information that a well-informed medical assistant can share with the patients he or she will come into contact with over the course of their careers in medicine. The WHO also noted that red meats that are cooked over high heat like frying, grilling or other high-temp methods are also known to contain carcinogenic properties as a result of being cooked in this fashion.
Dealing with patients suffering from life-threatening diseases like colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer and others is one of the more challenging aspects of work as a medical assistant. At the same time, sharing preventative medical advice is also part of the job. So when large-scale studies like the one the WHO produced about processed meats come to the forefront of the news, it is a good idea for medical assistants to take note and leverage the information in the work they do with patients.