Cancer patient, Can’t Eat Pigeon Meat? Avoid These 3 “Trigger Foods”


Two months ago, Mr. Wang was diagnosed with cancer. Fortunately, the discovery was timely, and after completing the surgery, he was discharged and returned home.

Mr. Li, a close friend, thought of providing nutritional support for his friend after the surgery. He went to the local market and bought several pigeons, intending to help with his friend’s recovery. However, this decision led to a conflict.

“Cancer patients shouldn’t supplement, are you trying to make me die sooner by giving me pigeons? Take them away!”

“I thought after the surgery, you need to replenish nutrients to recover quickly. How did it turn into me harming you?”

In the end, the two parted ways unhappily. Mr. Li, carrying the pigeons he bought, returned home with a sense of frustration, feeling that his good intentions were misunderstood.

So, can you eat pigeon meat if you have cancer?

1. Having Cancer, Is Pigeon Meat a “Trigger Food” that Shouldn’t Be Consumed?

Dr. Li Yu, Deputy Chief Physician of General Practice at Beijing Anzhen Hospital, Capital Medical University, points out that “trigger foods” refer to items that can worsen existing illnesses or induce old ones. Clinical studies have not found that pigeon meat contributes to tumor growth; therefore, pigeon meat is not considered a “trigger.”

Cancer patients can consume pigeon meat moderately. However, due to the difficulty in digesting pigeon meat, it is not recommended to consume excessive amounts at once. Pigeon meat is nutritionally rich, containing iron, calcium, copper, and other beneficial nutrients. Moderate consumption can help with blood replenishment, enhance physical fitness, among other benefits.

Dr. Xiong Ying, Deputy Director of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the China-Japan Friendship Hospital, advises against consuming pigeon meat for individuals allergic to it, as it may cause skin itching, vomiting, and other discomforts.

Nutritionist Xu Liuqing from the Nutrition Department at Fudan University Cancer Hospital emphasizes that cancer patients should follow a scientifically balanced diet and ensure proper nutrient intake.

  1. Ensure sufficient intake of fresh vegetables and fruits daily, which contain dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals that boost immunity and maintain intestinal health. It is recommended for adults to consume 300-500 grams of vegetables and 200-400 grams of fruits daily.
  2. Consume high-protein foods daily, including eggs, legumes, fish, dairy products, and meat, as they are quality protein sources.
  3. Diversify staple foods, avoiding excessive consumption of refined or processed foods. Include a variety of whole grains such as purple rice, millet, pumpkin, oats, sweet potatoes, whole wheat, and corn.
  4. Supplement quality fats. Reduce red meat consumption and increase the intake of deep-sea fish, which contains abundant omega-3 fatty acids. However, avoid consuming raw fish.

2. Is China’s High Cancer Incidence Due to Long-Term Meat Consumption?

Meat is classified into white meat and red meat based on the color of raw meat. Pork, beef, and lamb, derived from mammals, fall under red meat.

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified red meat as a Group 2A carcinogen.

Previous research has shown that excessive consumption of red meat can lead to obesity, colorectal cancer, and increased overall mortality in men, primarily due to the high content of saturated fatty acids in red meat.

However, the prevalence of cancer in China cannot be solely attributed to red meat, especially pork. While the consumption of red meat may be associated with an increased risk of cancer, it does not guarantee cancer, and pork is a nutritious meat with several health benefits when consumed in moderation.

To avoid cancer, it is more crucial to maintain a regular schedule, balance diet, and comprehensive nutrition, rather than solely blaming red meat.

3. To Avoid Cancer, Reduce Consumption of These 3 Meats

As the saying goes, “disease enters through the mouth.” The following three meats are indeed “carcinogens” that should be consumed in moderation.

  1. Processed Meat

Ham, smoked meat, meat sauce, bacon, cured meat, sausage, and hot dogs fall under processed meat. These meats contain nitrites, and their ingestion may produce carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds. According to statistics, over 80% of N-nitroso compounds can cause cancer in animals. The World Health Organization categorized processed meat as a Group 1 carcinogen in 2015.

  1. Pickled Meat

Salted fish, smoked sausages, cured meat, and ham are examples of pickled meat, which also contains nitrites. According to the “Standardized Diagnosis and Treatment Guidelines for Gastric Cancer” released by the National Health Commission, the occurrence of gastric cancer is related to high nitrite intake, so pickled meat should be consumed in moderation.

  1. Grilled Meat

Grilled fish, grilled meat, and other barbecue or fried foods may produce benzopyrene during cooking. Consuming excessive amounts may increase the risk of cancer, so it is advisable to limit the consumption of grilled meat.

Many cancer patients worry that eating pigeon meat will accelerate the development of cancer. However, consuming pigeon meat in moderation can help cancer patients supplement nutrients. The meats to truly reduce consumption of are processed meat, pickled meat, and grilled meat, as excessive intake may increase the risk of cancer.

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