Cancer Research UK cautious over red meat link to breast cancer

In collaboration with the Press Association

More research is needed to investigate a reported link between increased intake of red meat and breast cancer risk, Cancer Research UK have said.

Researchers at the University of Leeds found that high consumption of red meat, especially in post-menopausal women, could lead to greater risk of breast cancer. High intake of processed meat such as bacon or ham was linked to the highest risk.

The findings confirm those of an earlier study conducted in Shanghai which linked red meat consumption to increased breast cancer risk in both pre- and postmenopausal women.

But the issue of meat and fat intake remains controversial, with many researchers believing that the observed link is merely indicative of having a higher bodyweight, which is an established risk factor for post-menopausal breast cancer.

Further studies involving larger sample groups will need to be undertaken to confirm any link.

Henry Scowcroft, senior science information officer at Cancer Research UK, explained: "The links between meat consumption, fat intake and breast cancer risk are under debate and still being studied."

He added that the best advice for women concerned with their risk of developing breast cancer was to ensure they enjoy regular exercise and a healthy diet which avoids excessive consumption of fatty foods and alcohol.