Scepticism greets new breast cancer research findings …
Professor Valerie Beral, director of the cancer epidemiology unit at Oxford University, and leader of the Million Women’s Study into the causes of the disease, said there could be little confidence in dietary-based studies such as the newly released study which suggests higher consumption of red meat in early adulthood may be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer and women might be able to lessen their chance of contracting the disease by consuming legumes, poultry, nuts and fish instead.
“Dozens and dozens of studies have looked at breast cancer risk associated with some aspect of diet,” she said. “The totality of the available evidence indicates that red meat consumption has little or no effect on breast cancer risk, so results from a single study cannot be considered in isolation.”
Prof Tim Key, an epidemiologist at the University of Oxford, said the US study found “only a weak link” between eating red meat and breast cancer, which was “not strong enough to change the existing evidence that has found no definite link between the two”.
“Women can reduce their risk of breast cancer by maintaining a healthy weight, drinking less alcohol and being physically active, and it’s not a bad idea to swap some red meat – which is linked to bowel cancer – for white meat, beans or fish,” he said.