Sunday, October 07, 2007

Meat and Breast Cancer

I've been eating a lower carbohydrate diet. By default this has me eating more meat. The recent issues of breast cancer in my family have had me investigating meat consumption's affect on cancer risk.

I found this study while browsing the research:

Red Meat Intake and Risk of Breast Cancer Among Premenopausal Women (November, 2006)

Study Basics
  • Study population: 90,659 premenopausal women from the famous Nurses Health Study II
  • Women were followed for 12 years
  • Intake assessed through food frequency questionnaires

"Higher red meat intake may be a risk factor for [estrogen dependant] breast cancer among premenopausal women."

For 1 to 3 servings a week:1
  • Beef and lamb increased risk by 33%
  • Hot dogs increased risk by 43%
  • Hamburgers increased risk by 71%
  • Pork increased risk by 81%
For any combination of the above (and including bacon and other processed meats), meat eaten at about 1.5 servings a day doubled the risk for breast cancer.

As Taubes might say, this doesn't prove anything. But it certainly gives me pause.
1 These risks were adjusted for (were independent of): age, smoking, alcohol intake, calories consumed, body mass index, height, number of children, age at first birth, age at menstruation, family history of breast cancer, history of benign breast disease, and oral contraceptive use.

Painting, watercolor, "Study for American Girl" by James Brantley

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