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Red Meat Consumption is Associated with Increased Risk for Breast Cancer

According to researchers, consuming red meat is linked to a higher breast cancer risk. On the other hand, white meat consumption is associated with a reduced risk.

The Study

Published in the International Journal of Cancer, the analysis included 42,012 participants who provided diet and health data for a breast cancer study. Researchers followed the women participants for approximately 7.5 years.

This study controlled for physical activity, age, calorie consumption, body mass index and other health and diet characteristics.

Results from This Study

  • Compared to participants in the lowest quarter of meat consumption, those in the upper quarter were 23% more likely to get invasive cancer.
  • Participants in the highest quarter for white meat intake had a 15% less likelihood for developing breast cancer than those found in the lowest quarter.
  • The research found that stronger associations for breast cancer occur after menopause.
  • The researchers observed a strong association when the participants’ overall meat consumption remained constant and when red meat substituted white meat.
  • Statistically, participants with the highest white meat to red meat intake ratio had a 28% reduced risk.

Dale P. Sandler, the senior author and the National Institutes of Health’s epidemiologist, said that earlier research analyzed this association but generated inconsistent results.

Reducing Red Meat Consumption Lowers Breast Cancer Risk

Dale showed that the current study shows a clear association between meat consumption and breast cancer risk. Precisely, consuming white meat reduces a woman’s risk to breast cancer while eating red meat increases the risk, by a small percentage.

Thus, to reduce the risk of breast cancer, women should reduce red meat consumption. They should instead consume white meat such as fish and poultry, which is associated with a low risk for breast cancer.

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