Log In
Thursday 20th October 2016

Red meat may increase risk of breast cancer

11th June 2014

Researchers at Harvard University have suggested that substituting red meats with alternative proteins could reduce the risk of breast cancer in young women.

MeatThis research contradicts previous studies and UK experts are recommending caution before further research is undertaken.

The study

The Harvard School of Public Health in Boston studied the diets of nearly 3,000 women who developed breast cancer. (They also analysed generic data of nearly 90,000 women aged 24 to 43).

The researchers said: "Higher red meat intake in early adulthood may be a risk factor for breast cancer", and "replacing red meat with a combination of legumes, poultry, nuts and fish may reduce the risk of breast cancer".

A spokesperson from the study described the risk as "small".


Both the American Cancer Society and the Department of Health (DH) have issued a recommendation of consuming less red and/or processed meat a day, with the latter suggesting 70g or less.

Prof Tim Key, from the University of Oxford, said the US study found "only a weak link" between eating red meat and breast cancer, which was "not strong enough to change the existing evidence that has found no definite link between the two".

He said that women can reduce their risk by "maintaining a healthy weight, drinking less alcohol and being physically active", but said it is not a bad idea to moderate the consumption of red meat.

Share this page


There are no comments for this article, be the first to comment!

Post your comment

Only registered users can comment. Fill in your e-mail address for quick registration.

Your email address:

Your comment will be checked by a Healthcare Today moderator before it is published on the site.

Mayden - Innovative cloud-based web development for the healthcare sector
© Mayden Foundation 2016