Meat and eggs not linked to breast cancer risk

January 14, 2003 in Cancer Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News, Women's Health

Meat and eggs not linked to breast cancer risk

New research shows that women who consume animal proteins such as red meat are no more likely to develop breast cancer than women who choose to eschew such foods, Boston researchers report.

The new study, which looked at data from almost 90,000 women, also found that it made no difference whether women ate rare or well-done meat.

This doesn't mean that women should feel free to eat more meat. Meat contains high amounts of saturated fat, which has been linked to heart attacks, which are an even bigger killer of women. Meat consumption is also linked to colon cancer.

The new results are based on data from the Nurse's Health Study. At the beginning of the study, which included 121,700 female nurses, the women were aged 30 to 55 years. At several points during the 18 years examined by the researchers, the women were surveyed about their eating habits.

The women were also asked biennially whether they had been diagnosed with breast cancer in the previous two years. The researchers also kept track of deaths among the women.

When the scientists compared the dietary habits of women who developed breast cancer to those who stayed healthy, the researchers found no association between any kind of meat consumption and increased cancer risk. Eggs were also not associated with increased cancer risk.

Although the researchers saw no relationship between well-done meat and breast cancer risk, they want to study the issue of charred meat further. That's because the researchers didn't ask detailed questions about cooking methods.

Future studies will look at whether charring meat can lead to an increased risk of breast cancer, she added.

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