Amanda J. Cross of the National Institutes of Health and colleagues say the relationship was driven by consumption of processed red meats and there was no association between bladder cancer and white meat or processed meat itself, MedPage Today and ABC News report.
In addition, the study, published in the journal Cancer, finds no association between bladder cancer and beef, bacon, hamburger, sausage, or steak -- but the researchers did find a positive association for cold cuts made from red meat.
The study involved 300,000 men and women over a seven-year period, who were part of the National Institute of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study It included a food frequency questionnaire.
The researchers say they suspect meat could be involved in bladder cancer via compounds related to cooking and processing, including nitrates, nitrites -- used to cure meat -- and heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which can form during cooking.
In a statement, James H. Hodges, president of the American Meat Institute Foundation, says the study erroneously perpetuates the myth that cured meats are the main source of ingested nitrite, when 5 percent of ingested nitrite comes from cured meats and 93 percent from vegetables and saliva.