Teen Dietary Choices May Influence Breast Cancer Risk

Statistics indicate that the average woman in the United States has a one in eight chance of having breast cancer by age 85. At the beginning of teenage female sexual development, when the breast cells are dividing, some substances may dramatically increase the chance for cancer later in life. In a study, more than 40,000 females were asked to recall their eating habits during high school. Eating red meat was correlated with an increased chance for cancer later on. Compared with women who ate the least amount of red meat, those who at the most were significantly more at risk for breast cancer before menopause but not after menopause. Adolescent intake of poultry was associated with lower risk of breast cancer overall. Replacing one serving a day of total red meat with one serving of poultry, fish, legumes, and nuts was associated with a 15 percent lower risk of breast cancer. These results suggest that during adolescence it is best to limit red meat to a minimal amount. Substituting other dietary protein sources for red meat in the adolescent diet may decrease the risk of premenopausal breast cancer.

(Source: International Journal of Cancer, April 15, 2015)

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