Red Meat May Increase Risk of Cancer

The frequent consumption of red meat is often linked to health problems in both men and women. A recent study has linked red meat to an increase in the risk of getting breast cancer.

Daily consumption of red meat might may significantly increase a woman’s risk of certain breast cancers, even before she reaches menopause, according to a new study.

Women who ate large amounts of red meat were more than twice as likely to suffer hormone-related breast cancer, researchers found. Chemicals added during meat processing or growth hormones given to cattle may be to blame, they speculate.

Women in the study who ate more than 1.5 servings of red meat per day had nearly double the risk of developing hormone-sensitive breast cancer as those who ate three or fewer servings per week, the team found. A single serving equates to a quarter-pound hamburger, for example, or 100 grams of red meat.

While few studies have looked at the link between red meat intake and breast cancer in young women, earlier studies have found a possible link in older women. And red meat consumption has been suggested as a cause of other tumour types, such as bowel cancer.

While the risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer is low, it is worth reviewing how many servings of meat you are having on a daily basis. As eating a wide variety of foods in moderation is often cited as the key to a healthy diet, you may wish to reduce your servings of red meat (if you eat more than one serving per day) and replace it with fish, chicken or simply with more vegetables.