Processed Meat Consumption May Increase Post-Menopausal Breast Cancer Risk, Study Finds

Processed Meat Consumption May Increase Post-Menopausal Breast Cancer Risk, Study Finds
Consumption of processed meat may increase the risk of breast cancer in post-menopausal women, a large-scale study by researchers at the University of Glasgow suggests. Researchers did not find a link between processed meat consumption and pre-menopausal breast cancer risk, or consumption of red meat and breast cancer risk. The study, “Red and processed meat consumption and breast cancer: UK Biobank cohort study and meta-analysis,” was published in the European Journal of Cancer. Processed meat is made by smoking, curing, or salting with chemical preservatives or by using other processes to enhance flavor. The World Health Organization has warned that consuming processed meat can increase the risk of cancer, particularly colorectal cancer. One reason processed meats may promote cancer is that nitrates or nitrites are added to enhance flavor and color. These molecules can lead to the formation of potentially carcinogenic chemicals, such as N-nitroso compounds. While several studies have linked processed meat consumption with multiple cancers of the digestive system, no consensus had existed on whether it also increases the risk of breast cancer. The team of researchers analyzed data from the UK Biobank, a long-term, comprehensive study that follows the health of 500,000 volunteers. For an average of seven years, they followed 262,195 women in the U.K., ages 40-69, with no previous record of breast cancer. The analysis included whether or not participants developed breast cancer during the study, along with information regarding soc
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