NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBS Connecticut) – Researchers at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey found preliminary evidence that the consumption of red meat and poultry could increase the risk of breast cancer – but only in white women.

The study specifically sought to examine the effects of a non-vegetarian diet on women “of European and African ancestry,” Newsday reported.

“Most breast cancer studies have been conducted in [white] women,” senior study author and CINJ epidemiologist Dr. Elisa Bandera was quoted as adding.

Researchers questioned a reported 1,165 black women and 865 white women who were cancer-free, as well as 976 black women and 873 women diagnosed with breast cancer.

According to the study, white women who consumed the largest quantities of unprocessed poultry and red meat appeared to be at a higher risk of getting breast cancer, in particular those who had not yet reached menopause.

In black women, however, no relationship between diet and cancer risk was found.

“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,” Urmila Chandran, lead author and research teaching specialist, was quoted as saying in a press release obtained by Newsday.

The study, while observing a trend between eating meat and breast cancer risk, did not definitively call it a “cause-and-effect relationship.”

Added Chandran, “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.”


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