Meat again tied into breast cancer risk in another study

Another day goes by and another study linking eating meat to modern lifestyle cancers such as breast cancer.

Given that breast cancer is the one disease that ranks the “scariest and most dreaded” for New Zealand women in every survey, it would be smart to look at what you can do to lower your risk. 

One way is to stop or drastically reduce the amount of animal products you eat.

“It’s important that everybody follows a varied, balanced diet for general health and wellbeing – this includes fruits, vegetables, pulses and whole grains and limited red meat, processed meat, animal fat, sugary or fatty processed food, salt and alcohol.  It’s already been proven that women can reduce their breast cancer risk by maintaining a healthy weight, reducing alcohol consumption and increasing the amount of physical activity they do”
Sally Greenbrook, senior policy officer at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, June 2014.

“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.  When this relatively small relative risk is applied to breast cancer, which has a high lifetime incidence, the absolute number (the number of cancer cases developing over a certain time period) of excess cases attributable to red meat would be substantial, and, hence, a public health concern
Dr Maryam Farvid, British Medical Journal, June 2014.

This latest Harvard School of Public Health study found:

  1. Removing just one serving of meat daily (around 85g or roughly one large sausage), reduces the risk of breast cancer by almost 20%
  2. The higher intake of red meat showed a 22% increased risk of breast cancer
  3. Every additional red meat serving per day had a 13% increase in risk of breast cancer
  4. Substituting red meat – in just one serving daily – with legumes (such as lentils), or nuts gave a 14% lower risk of breast cancer

Study by Dr Maryam Farvid and colleagues from the Harvard School of Public Health on 88,803 American female nurses age 26-45, and took into account all the known risk factors such as age, height, weight, race, genetic history, smoking and more.  It was published in the British Medical Journal and reported by WebMD UK Health News, BBC News, The Daily Telegraph UK and The New Zealand Herald on June 11, 2014.


Posted: Friday 13 June 2014