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Red Meat Linked to Greater Risk of Breast Cancer

Jul. 10, 2014|413 views
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There's more bad news for red meat lovers. A new study has concluded that women who consume more red meat products when they're young are more likely to develop breast cancer later in life. As in 22 percent more likely. The good news is this, though: Investigators also determined that women who replaced one portion of red meat with another source of protein—from legumes, nuts, poultry or fish—could reduce their risk by 14 percent.

Most previous studies have focused on risk factors that affect older women, later in life. They discovered only tentative links between red meat consumption and breast cancer risk. But the new study, based on information gleaned from nearly 90,000 women who have been participating in the Nurses' Health Study for more than 20 years, focused on diet in the earlier years of life.

During adolescence, women who ate the most red meat and processed red meat products were significantly more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer later in life. Conversely, women who reported eating more poultry during their formative years actually enjoyed some protection against cancer in their postmenopausal years.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) reports that breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women. A handful of risk factors for breast cancer have been identified. They include age, family history, obesity, and alcohol consumption. Now it's time to add red meat products (beef, pork, lamb) to the list.

ACS recommends a plant-based diet to reduce girls' and women's risk of developing breast cancer. They also recommend the following:

Limit your consumption of processed meats (bacon, hot dogs, sausage, lunch meats) and red meat.

Choose fish, chicken, turkey, or beans instead of red meat.

If you eat red meat, choose leaner, smaller portions (look for the words "loin" or "round" in the name of the cut).

Rather than frying or charbroiling, prepare poultry and fish by baking, broiling, steaming, or poaching.

Farvid MS1, Cho E2, Chen WY3, Eliassen AH4, Willett WC5.Dietary protein sources in early adulthood and breast cancer incidence: prospective cohort study.BMJ. 2014 Jun 10;348:g3437. doi: 10.1136/bmj.g3437.

Tags:  cancer risks, health tips, prevention
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