Replacing red meat with poultry could cut the risk of breast cancer


  • Pavankumar Kamat
  • Univadis Medical News
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A new study indicates that consumption of red meat may increase the risk of invasive breast cancer, whereas consumption of poultry may lower the risk. 

Researchers obtained dietary information on meat consumption from participants of the Sister Study (n=42,012) using a modified version of the '1998 Block Food Frequency Questionnaire' at the time of enrollment. Associations between breast cancer risk and different meat types, cooking practices and meat mutagens were determined.

During follow-up, 1,536 invasive breast cancers were diagnosed at least one year after enrolment.

Participants in the highest quartile of red meat consumption had a 23 per cent higher risk of invasive breast cancer compared with those in the lowest quartile (Ptrend=.01). Conversely, participants in the highest quartile of poultry consumption had a 15 per cent lower risk of invasive breast cancer compared with those in the lowest quartile (Ptrend=.03). Meat cooking practices, levels of potentially mutagenic heterocyclic amines or heme iron had no association with the risk of breast cancer.  

Writing in the International Journal of Cancer, the authors concluded: "It may be beneficial to replace red meat with poultry to reduce the overall risk of breast cancer." They call for further research to understand the protective association of poultry on breast cancer risk.