Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Red Meat and Breast Cancer
If you heard the news this morning about red meat and breast cancer, you may have immediately dismissed it. "I have heard it all before," you thought to yourself. Well, I want you to reconsider, especially if you are a woman in your 20's, 30's or 40's. In a nutshell, the study looked at 90,000 women and found those who ate more red meat almost doubled their risk of developing a specific type of breast cancer, called hormone receptor positive cancer, over the next 12 years.
To be fair, it is really hard to do a study like this. This study was based on questionnaires asking people to remember what they ate and how much. I can barely remember what I had last night, let alone last month. And, we are not really sure why red meat would be linked to breast cancer. It could have something to do with certain compounds in the meat that are released in the cooking process. It could also have to do with the fact that certain cattle are often given hormones in their feed, which could fuel the breast cancer to grow.
Now, Americans eat more red meat than the rest of the world. And, yes, most of us already know we should probably cut down for a variety of reasons. But, here's what I find interesting - there are so many things out there affecting our likelihood of cancer that we can't control, such as family history, but we are starting to accumulate lots of evidence about things we can control. Now, if you had a juicy cheeseburger last night, don't worry - you still have a very low likelihood of ever getting breast cancer. But, here is yet another good reason to cut down
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