Eating chicken instead of red meat may reduce breast cancer risk

In a new study, researchers found that eating red meat may increase the risk of breast cancer, whereas eating poultry may protect against breast cancer risk.

The research was conducted by a team from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

In the study, the team analyzed information on eating different types of meat and meat cooking methods from 42,012 women who were followed for an average of 7.6 years.

During follow-up, 1,536 invasive breast cancers were diagnosed.

The team found eating more red meat was linked to increased risk of invasive breast cancer: women who ate the highest amount of red meat had a 23% higher risk compared with women who ate the lowest amount.

On the contrary, eating more poultry was linked to decreased invasive breast cancer risk: women with the highest consumption had a 15% lower risk than those with the lowest consumption.

Breast cancer was reduced even further for women who substituted poultry for meat.

No associations were observed for cooking practices or chemicals formed when cooking meat at high temperature.

The team says red meat has been identified as a probable carcinogen. This study adds further evidence that eating red meat may be linked to increased risk of breast cancer whereas poultry was associated with decreased risk.

The researchers say substituting poultry for red meat may be a simple change that can help reduce the risk of breast cancer.

The lead author of the study is Dale P. Sandler, Ph.D., of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

The study is published in the International Journal of Cancer.

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