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Women urged to replace red meat with chicken to reduce breast cancer risk; Researchers from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences have revealed that poultry consumption may be protective against breast cancer risk.

Byline: Shivali Best

From steak to bacon, red meat forms a key part of many people'sdiets.

But a new study is urging women to replace these meats with poultry, in order to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.

Researchers from theNational Institute of Environmental Health Scienceshave revealed that poultry consumption may be protective against breastcancer risk.

In the study, the researchers analysed the diets of 42,012 women over an average of 7.6 years. During this time, 1,536 women were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.

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An analysis of the results revealed that women who ate the highest amount of red meat had a 23% higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who ate the lowest amount.

In contrast, women who ate the highest amount of poultry had a 15% lower risk of breast cancer than those who ate the lowest amount.

Dr Dale Sandler, senior author of the study, said: "Red meat has been identified as a probable carcinogen.

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"Our study adds further evidence that red meat consumption may be associated with increased risk of breast cancer whereas poultry was associated with decreased risk."

The reason for this effect remains unclear.

Dr Sandler added: "While the mechanism through which poultry consumption decreases breast cancer risk is not clear, our study does provide evidence that substituting poultry for red meat may be a simple change that can help reduce the incidence of breast cancer."

However, other experts have advised readers to be cautious of the findings.

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Dr Mieke Van Hemelrijck, an expert in Cancer Epidemiology at King's College London, who was not involved in the study, said: "This study shows an association between red meat intake and risk of breast cancer, which potentially helps us generate further hypothesis around how breast cancer may develop.

"However, it's important to note that these risks are reported as relative risks, not absolute risks -- which means that although the relative risk is a 23% increased risk compared to those who have a lower intake of red meat, the absolute risks are small.

"Even though this is a large observational study, the findings cannot claim causality -- so we can't say from this study whether more red meat causes increased breast cancer risk, or that replacing red meat with poultry causes a reduced breast cancer risk; other factors may be at play.

"But the results could be used to help us further understand how diet may have an influence in the development of cancer."

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Title Annotation:Science
Publication:Daily Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 7, 2019
Words:464
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