Eating Red Meat May Increase Risk of Hormone-positive Breast Cancer

Eating Red Meat May Increase Risk of Hormone-positive Breast Cancer in Premenopausal Women

According to an article recently published in Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey, consumption of red meat appears to increase the risk of developing hormone receptor-positive breast cancer among premenopausal women.

Hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, also referred to as estrogen receptor-positive (ER-positive) breast cancer, accounts for the majority of breast cancers. This type of breast cancer is stimulated to grow from exposure to circulating female hormones estrogen and/or progesterone. Because breast cancer is so prevalent (the disease is diagnosed in more than 200,000 women annually in the United States alone), researchers continue to evaluate factors, including lifestyle and environment, which may contribute to its development. Recent data has suggested that diet and exercise may play an important role in the risk of developing breast cancer.

It has been known for many years that countries with a diet high in animal fat-including the U.S., Canada, and Northern Europe-have a higher incidence of breast cancer compared to Asian countries, which consume a low animal-fat diet. Researchers affiliated with the Nurses’ Health Study II recently evaluate data that included 12 years of follow-up of over 90,000 women between the ages of 26 and 46 years. Diet and several other variables were assessed as potential factors in the development of breast cancer.

  • Intake of red meat was associated with a significant increase in the risk of developing hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, but not hormone receptor-negative breast cancer.
  • Increasing consumption of red meat was associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

The researchers concluded that increased consumption of red meat was associated with an increased risk of developing hormone receptor-positive breast cancer among premenopausal women.

Reference: Cho E, Chen WY, Hunter DJ, et al. Red meat intake and risk of breast cancer among premenopausal women. Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey. 62:180-181.

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