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Eating too much red meat could increase your risk of breast cancer

A new study looks at diet in early adulthood, while previous research had focused on diet later in life.
Jun 11th 2014, 6:45 AM 6,538 23

NEW RESEARCH HAS found that eating a high level of red meat in early adulthood may increase your risk of getting breast cancer.

A team of US researchers found that women aged in their twenties to mid-40s, with a higher-than-average intake of red meat, were around 22% more at risk of developing the cancer.

Previous studies did not point towards a significant link between red meat intake and breast cancer, although researchers noted that most had been based on diet during midlife or later.

The study, published today on BMJ.com, analysed data from the results of a questionnaire on diet taken by almost 89,000 premenopausal women aged 26 to 45.

The data analysed also took into account other health factors and also the subject’s family history of breast cancer.

Increased risk

Each additional serving per day of red meat was associated with a 13% increase in the risk of breast cancer.

Substituting one serving with poultry was associated with a 17% lower risk of breast cancer overall and a 24%  lower risk of postmenopausal breast cancer.

The authors concluded that higher red meat intake in early adulthood “may be a risk factor for breast cancer, and replacing red meat with a combination of legumes, poultry, nuts and fish may reduce the risk of breast cancer”.

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among woman in Ireland after skin cancer.

As many as 2,600 women are diagnosed every year, according to figures from the Irish Cancer Society.

Read: Too much red meat and iron supplements linked to Alzheimer’s disease >

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Nicky Ryan

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