High red meat consumption may raise breast cancer risk
Eating a lot of red meat as a young adult could be a risk factor for breast cancer, a new study published in BMJ (British Medical Journal) has concluded.
Previous dietary studies on cancer have focused on food consumption during midlife and later, and they have not found a significant link between breast cancer and eatomg red meat. But this focused on diet during early adulthood.
Researchers analyzed data from 88,803 premenopausal women, age 26 to 45, who answered a questionnaire on diet as part of the Nurses’ Health Study II in 1991.
The questionnaire listed different types of food against nine categories of intake frequency. The foods included, red meats, poultry, fish, legumes, nuts and other common foods eaten from 1960 to 1980 when the participants would have been in high school.
Follow-up analysis identified 2,830 cases of breast cancer. The researchers found that higher intake of red meat during early adulthood was associated with a 22 percent increased risk of breast cancer. Higher intake of poultry, however, was associated with a lower incidence of breast cancer. The researchers conclude that replacing red meat with a mix of legumes, nuts, poultry and fish may reduce breast cancer risk.