A US study has found a possible link between high consumption of red meat and an increased risk of certain types of breast cancer before the menopause.
Cancer Research UK pointed out that breast cancer was much less common in pre-menopausal women so the reported increase was small, in absolute terms.
The study monitored 90,000 women for more than a decade. It found that those who ate a high meat diet were much more prone to developing hormone-sensitive breast cancer.
“According to this study, a woman would need to eat more than one-and-a-half portions of meat a day, every day, to significantly increase her risk of hormone-sensitive breast cancer before the menopause,” said Henry Scowcroft, of Cancer Research UK
“But the overall risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer is low when compared to getting the disease after the menopause.
“So even at the highest rates of meat consumption this is overall still a relatively small increase,” he added.
Previous research has shown that the best way to minimise cancer risk is to eat a varied, balanced diet and take regular exercise.
The study is published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.