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Home Industry News Red meat ‘raises breast cancer risk’

Red meat ‘raises breast cancer risk’

4th April 2007

Women who eat a lot of red meat could increase their risk of breast cancer, scientists have warned today.

Post-menopausal women who eat the highest proportion of red meat ? equivalent to one portion a day (more than 57 grams) ? were found to have a 56 per cent greater risk of breast cancer than those who ate none.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Leeds, also discovered that women who ate the most processed meat, including sausages, bacon and ham, have a 64 per cent greater risk of breast cancer than those who ate none.

No “statistically significant” link was found however between eating poultry or offal and breast cancer risk in either pre- or post-menopausal women.

The researchers claim that their findings confirm those of an earlier study in Shanghai which linked red meat consumption to increased breast cancer risk in pre- and postmenopausal women.

Over 35,000 women took part in the research, which tracked their eating habits and health for the past seven years.

“This study indicates relationships with certain meats and breast cancer in both pre- and postmenopausal women and merits further investigation in a larger study,” the researchers write in the British Journal of Cancer.

They propose that the increased risk may be due to “a combination of nutritionally related factors” such as fat, protein and iron and/or meat preparation.

Commenting on the study, Dr Alexis Willett, senior policy officer at the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said: “This is an interesting study but because we eat a variety of foods it is difficult to separate out the specific effect of red meat on breast cancer risk.

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