Well-Done Meat Linked to Increased Risk of Breast Cancer

Women who eat meat cooked very well done may be four times more likely to contract breast cancer than women who eat meat cooked rare or medium, according to findings published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Researchers caution that it is would be premature for anyone to change their eating habits at this point, and that further studies are warranted. “We have found a link between well-done meat and breast cancer, but we are still not sure of the cause,” said study author Dr. Wei Zheng of the University of South Carolina. “This is just one study. It is too early to jump to a final conclusion.”

Although many studies have attempted to formulate a link between breast cancer and diet, few have provided definitive answers, and no diet has been proven to prevent breast cancer, although a high-fiber, low-fat diet has been advocated by many.

Zheng pointed out that, for quite some time, it has been known that cooking meat at a high temperature, by either frying or grilling, can produce cancer-causing chemical compounds called heterocyclic amines.

Women in the study who preferred their meat well done had a 462 percent greater chance of having breast cancer as compared to women who ate rare or medium-cooked meat.

The risks were 50 to 70 percent higher for well done hamburger and bacon, and 220 percent higher for very well done beefsteak, said Zheng.

The study accounted for other factors linked to breast cancer, such as obesity, family history, and hormone replacement therapy, and was then adjusted accordingly.


AP - November 18, 1998

Support eh ERA banner