Eating Two Sausages Weekly May Raise Risk of Breast Cancer

Researchers have released new evidence to prove that eating processed meats can increase risk of breast cancer.

From a study of more than 260,000 women, the scientists discovered that the risk of breast cancer increased by more than a fifth for those who consumed more than 9 grams of processed meats daily, which is the equivalent of around two sausages per week. However, the researchers found no connection between consuming red meat and the risk of breast cancer.

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Study leader Prof. Jill Pell, who is the director of the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom, and colleagues recently reported their discoveries in The European Journal of Cancer.

Processed meats are those that have been changed to boost their flavor or lengthen their shelf life. Some examples of processed meats are sausages, hot dogs, salami, and bacon. These foods may be appetizing, but study shows they provide little health-wise. In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that processed meats increase the risk of colorectal cancer, while red meats were deemed “probably carcinogenic” to humans. This conclusion came from a review of more than 800 studies.

Processed Meats and Breast cancer

The research included data on 262,195 women aged 40–69 years. All women were a part of UK biobank, which is an ongoing health study of 500,000 adults from the U.K.

Prof. Pell and his team of researchers used these data to calculate the women’s consumption of red and processed meats, and breast cancer rate was identified through cancer registry and hospital admission data.

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A total of 4,819 women were diagnosed with breast cancer over 7 years of follow-up.

Pell noted that compared with women who had the lowest intake of processed meats, those who consumed at least 9 grams of processed meats per day were discovered to have a 21 percent greater risk of breast cancer.

The researchers then combined their analysis with the results from 10 previous studies that looked at the ingestion of red and processed meats and breast cancer risk, enabling them to assess the link in 1.65 million women.

This report disclosed a 9 percent increased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer with processed meat intake. These findings remained significant after accounting for other dietary and lifestyle factors.


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