Back to Home

Red Meat Causes Breast Cancer – Says New Study


Most people tend to crave for red meat, especially those individuals who live in colder countries, in order to maintain their body heat. However, according to a US study, if you eat a lot of red meat in early adult life, it may slightly enhance the risk of breast cancer. The red meat includes unprocessed pork, beef, lamb and hamburger, and also processed red meat included bacon, hot dogs and sausage. Harvard researchers stated that if red meat is replaced with a combination of peas, lentils, beans, nuts, poultry and fish, it may reduce the reduce the risk in younger women.

gallery-1440696656-wdy100115breastcancer-001 (1)

However, UK experts advise discretion, saying that there are other studies which have shown no apparent link between breast cancer and red meat. Previously, one of the studies has shown that eating a lot of processed, and red meat tends to increase the risk of bowel cancer. The recent data comes from a US study tracking the health of 89,000 women aged between 24 to 43. Almost 3000 women who developed breast cancer was studied and analysed by a team led by Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

9e05f23b03843220fd63907f93fc4b24 (1)

As per a report in the British Medical Journal, intake of red meat in early adulthood is directly proportional to the risk factor for breast cancer. Higher the red meat intake, higher the risk of breast cancer is what it says. However, Dr Maryam Farvid and colleagues characterised the risk as “small”. Prof Tim Key, who is an epidemiologist at the University of Oxford, said that the US study observed only a weak link between consuming red meat and breast cancer, which was not sufficient enough to change the actual evidence that has found no visible link between the two.

12 (1)

He stated that women could lessen their risk of breast cancer by sustaining a healthy weight, being physically active and by drinking less alcohol. He also added that it is not a bad idea to swap some red meat for white meat, beans or fish since the red meat is also linked to bowel cancer. Prof Valerie Beral, who is the director of the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford, said that dozens of investigations had looked at breast cancer risk linked to diet.

15 (1)

She stated that the totality of the possible evidence shows that red meat consumption has limited or no effect on breast cancer risk, hence the conclusions from a single study cannot be viewed in isolation. Mia Gaudet, who is the director of genetic epidemiology at the American Cancer Society, said that breasts are still growing and are more sensitive to carcinogens before women have their first ‘full-term pregnancy’. Sally Greenbrook of Breakthrough Breast Cancer said that the foundation would welcome more investigation into the impact of red meat on breast cancer risk.

Meat-(1) (1)

Jackie Harris, who is a clinical nurse specialist at Breast Cancer Care opined that this study was interesting because it examines the young women’s eating habits and helps the growing body of data of the importance of eating a well-balanced diet. Though doing exercise and having healthy food can help you reduce the risk of breast cancer, when it comes to preventing it completely, you could consider it quite next to impossible. Th three main factors of breast cancer are increasing age, being female and having a significant family history.

Red meat ‘limits’. The Department of Health has suggested that people who eat more than 90g (cooked weight) of processed or red meat a day should cut it down to a minimum of 70g. Directions from the American Cancer Society also advise limiting the consumption of red meat as well as processed meat. On the other hand, another separate study also found that women with quite a large number of moles on their bodies are likely to have a higher risk for breast cancer.


Dr Matthew Lam of Breakthrough Breast Cancer said that it is not yet open to understanding how useful it would be to ask women to tell how many moles they have as part of risk evaluation. He adds that there were several other more reliable risk factors in action such as age, weight, and genes. Women don’t necessarily have to become vegetarians and give up on red meat as a precaution. Reducing the consumption rate is more than enough to decrease the developing of breast cancer.

teeth-bite-meat (1)

You can have red meat twice a week or even once a week instead of having it twice a day. In addition to that, if you start exercising and drink less alcohol and quit smoking, it all adds to the prevention techniques. However, if you take into account all these factors now, it will help you in the late future. Why take risks when you have precautions and other safety measures available?