Meat Raises Breast Cancer Risk by 28%

Almost all cattle are implanted with estrogenic hormones and DDTs

Woman looking concerned at meat

Woman looking concerned at meat

Women who prefer red meat over poultry increased their breast cancer risk by 23%, according to results from the Sister Study, published in the International Journal of Cancer.i In a predictive model, the researchers looked at women with the highest levels of red meat consumption and calculated how much their breast cancer risk would be reduced by switching to poultry. For these women, the scientists predicted a 28% decreased risk and called the reduction even “more pronounced.” Women who ate the most poultry reduced their risk by 15%.

The Sister Study, involving women from the US and territory of Puerto Rico, is ongoing, looking at data from 42,012 females, 35–74 years old, to learn about the environmental and genetic causes of breast cancer.

Read: Why Asian Women Get Less Breast Cancer

These results held strong even when other breast cancer risk factors were taken into account, including race, household income, level of physical activity, family history of cancer, dairy and vegetable consumption, calorie intake, body mass index, birth control use, and alcohol consumption.

Skinless, Not Fried

An earlier study suggests that how our poultry is prepared may also offer further protection. Nutrition Research reports “increased risks of breast cancer for high intakes of fried fish and chicken with skin, whereas skinless chicken, not fried fish and total white meat intake were inversely associated.” ii

Estrogenic Hormones and DDT

The scientists note, “the mechanism through which poultry consumption decreases breast cancer risk is not clear.”

Read: Diet And Cancer

Among other factors associated with red meat that may make it more dangerous for women are the use of hormone growth stimulants for cattle. Almost all conventionally raised cattle are implanted with estrogenic hormones that are linked with invasive breast cancer. Poultry farmers do not use hormone-based growth stimulants. In addition, the fatty portions of red meat accumulate chemical toxins, including powerful organochlorine pesticides such as DDT, known to cause breast cancer.

Referencesi Lo JJ, Park YM, Sinha R, Sandler DP.Association between meat consumption and risk of breast cancer: Findings from the Sister Study.Int J Cancer. 2019 Aug 6. doi: 10.1002/ijc.32547. [Epub ahead of print] ii Alvaro L.Ronco, EduardoDe Stéfani, AliciaFabra White meat intake and the risk of breast cancer: a case-control study in Montevideo, UruguayNutrition ResearchVolume 23, Issue 2, February 2003, Pages 151-162
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