Eating Poultry Instead of Red Meat Can Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

A new study published in the International Journal of Cancer suggests that substituting red meat for poultry can reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Meat consumption is thought to increase the risk of breast cancer, but as the authors note “this association has not been consistently seen.” To examine the association between breast cancer and meat consumption, the researchers collected data from 42,012 sister study participants who completed a Block 1998 Food Frequency Questionnaire at enrollment. They calculated exposure to meat type as well as meat mutagens, and subsequently estimated risks with invasive breast cancer using multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression.

According to the study results, during a seven-year follow-up, an increased consumption of red meat was linked with an increased risk of invasive breast cancer (HR=1.23, 95% CI, 1.02 to 1.48) while an augmented consumption of poultry was correlated with a decreased risk of breast cancer (HR=0.85; 95% CI, 0.72 to 1.00). Moreover, in a substitution model with combined red meat and poultry consumption held constant, substituting poultry for red meat was linked with reduced invasive breast cancer risk (HR=0.72, 95% CI: 0.58 to 0.89). The researchers observed no associations with cooking practices.

The Danger of Red Meat

“Red meat has been identified as a probable carcinogen. Our study adds further evidence that red meat consumption may be associated with increased risk of breast cancer whereas poultry was associated with decreased risk,” said senior author Dale P. Sandler, PhD, of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in a press release.

Dr. Saddler added that “while the mechanism through which poultry consumption decreases breast cancer risk is not clear, our study does provide evidence that substituting poultry for red meat may be a simple change that can help reduce the incidence of breast cancer.”

Source: International Journal of Cancer, EurekAlert