One in four Americans will be diagnosed with cancer this year, a staggering statisticto consider. Cancer is the number-one killer in the U.S., and most of us know of someone who has been impacted by cancer. In honor of Deb Moody, a rancher’s wife from Mitchell, SD, who lost her battle with cancer in April, a group of cowboys banned together to raise money for the fight find a cure against the disease. The Deb Moody Rope For A Cure Event was held at the Mitchell Rodeo Grounds on June 11, with 323 teams competing, an event that I was honored to attend in support of the Moody family and the fight against cancer.
 One of my dearest friends, Delina Nagel, is currently battling the disease, and it’s devastating and heart-wrenching to watch her fight every single day against this cruel illness. The word cancer evokes fear and desperation and it seems that virtually every day the media reports another culprit to blame for the disease. One common belief is that beef causes cancer. Nagel doesn’t believe that one bit and, as a proud cattle rancher, she often takes literature with information debunking this myth to her doctor's office. The brochure she shares with doctors and patients during her treatments is entitled, “The Facts About Red Meat and Cancer,” and was produced by the beef checkoff and the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Auxiliary.
Here are some highlights from the brochure and what you need to know  about red meat and cancer:
1. Science is clear about how to decrease cancer risk: don't smoke, use alcohol responsibly, be physically active, maintain a healthy weight and follow a diet consistent with dietary guidelines.
2. Evidence doesn’t support a causal relationship between red meat and cancer, according to a recent independent study entitled “Assessment of Red Meat and Cancer.” The review evaluated every available epidemiological study on red meat and six kinds of cancer and concluded there was no causal link.
3. On average, Americans eat less than 2 oz. of beef every day, so most folks are well within recommended guidelines for protein. While many consider reducing the amount of red meat they eat, several leading health organizations, such as the American Dietetic Association, recommend eating lean meat to maintain a healthful, balanced lifestyle.
4. Emerging research has shown that lean meat may have some protective factors against cancer. For example, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), is a natural trans fatty acid abundant in beef. Growing evidence supports that CLA may have cancer-fighting properties, as well as positive effects on cardiovascular disease, body composition, insulin resistance, immune function and bone health.
Further reading on this topic can be found here:
How can we work together to debunk the cancer and red meat correlation? Help spread the facts today!
Has your family been impacted by cancer? My condolences to the Tim Moody family for the loss of a wonderful ranch wife. My thoughts and prayers go out to anyone, including my dear friend Delina Nagel, who is currently battling, or has fought and beat, cancer.