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Eating Read Meat and Poultry May Up Breast Cancer Risk in White Women: Study

Update Date: Nov 04, 2012 04:27 AM EST

A new study suggests that eating red meat and poultry may boost the risk of breast cancer in white women - but not black women.

"Most breast cancer studies have been conducted in [white] women," said senior study author Dr. Elisa Bandera, an epidemiologist at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, in an institute news release.

Since most of the previous researches have been around white women, the current research aimed at collecting more information on the impact of consumption of meat on breast cancer in women with African and European origin as well, Bandera noted.

For the study, researchers administered questionnaires to 976 black women and 873 white women with breast cancer, and 1,165 black women and 865 white women without cancer.

The findings of the study revealed that among white women, it seems that those who ate the highest amount of unprocessed red meat and poultry had a higher risk of breast cancer when compared to those who had the least - especially those who hadn't reached menopause.

The weekly increase in the consumption of red meat seemed to be directly proportional with the chances of breast cancer risk in white women. However, no such association was found among black women. On the contrary, red meat seemed to reduce the risk of a certain kind of tumor in black women.

"This research supports encouraging [white] women to limit their intake of both red meat and poultry in order to reduce their risk of breast cancer, which is in line with the American Institute for Cancer Research's recommendation of limiting red meat intake to less than 500 grams per week," study lead author and research teaching specialist Urmila Chandran said in the news release.

"Being that this study may be one of the first to examine this association in [black] women, results from this group are not conclusive, and more investigation is needed to replicate these findings," Chandran added.

The study has only lined meat consumption and breast cancer in white women, but does not establish a cause-and-effect relationship.

The findings were scheduled for presentation Thursday at the American Institute for Cancer Research meeting in Washington, D.C. The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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