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Red Meat Associated with Higher Risk of Breast Cancer

Risk increased only for hormone receptor-positive cancers

TUESDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Increased red meat intake is associated with a higher risk of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer in relatively young, premenopausal women, according to a report in the Nov. 13 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Eunyoung Cho, Sc.D., from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues studied the risk of breast cancer in 90,659 premenopausal women aged 26 to 46 years based on red meat intake, which was assessed three times through a food-frequency questionnaire during 12 years of follow-up.

There were 1,021 cases of invasive breast carcinoma over the follow-up period. The risk of estrogen and progesterone receptor-positive cancers increased with increasing red meat intake, the researchers found. The relative risk ranged from 1.14 for three to five servings per week to 1.97 for more than 1.5 servings per day compared with three or fewer servings per week. There was no significant change in the risk of developing hormone receptor-negative cancers, according to the study.

"In conclusion, in this population of relatively young, premenopausal women, red meat intake was associated with a higher risk of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer but not with risk of hormone receptor-negative cancer," Cho and colleagues conclude. "Given that most of the risk factors for breast cancer are not easily modifiable, these findings have potential public health implications in preventing breast cancer and should be evaluated further."

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