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Grilled and barbequed meat can affect breast cancer survivors

meat being barbequed


After non-melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in Australian women representing 28 per cent of all cancers diagnosed. 15,934 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 with a 6.5 per cent death rate in the same year.

In the fight against breast cancer, researchers and scientists are always conducting studies to uncover causes of the disease and to find a cure.

Previous studies have linked grilled, barbecued and smoked meat intake with increased the risk of incident breast cancer.

Through previous research in animal models we know that meats cooked at high temperature, through grilling or pan frying may increase the incidence of certain cancers including breast cancer.
This is because cooking meats at high temperatures leads to the production of carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and heterocyclic amines which activates changes in the DNA to cause cancer.

Many studies have linked meats cooked by these methods at high temperature to an increased risk of breast cancer. But no study has been conducted to find out if ingesting such meat will affect the survival after breast cancer.

Researchers from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill interviewed 1508 women who were initially diagnosed with first primary invasive or in situ breast cancer in 1996 and 1997.
All participants were asked about their meat consumption of grilled, barbequed and smoked meat in each decade of their life. Five years later, the women were asked about their meat intake again during the intervening five years.

After a median of 17.6 years of follow-up, 597 women had died. Out of which 237 were from breast cancer related issues.
Women with a high intake of grilled/ barbequed and smoked lamb, pork and beef were at a 17 per cent risk of all-cause mortality and a 23 per cent increased risk of breast cancer mortality compared to those with low intake.

Women who continued with high grilled/barbequed and smoked meat intake after diagnosis of breast cancer had a higher all-cause mortality risk at 31 per cent.

But any breast cancer specific mortality was decreased among women with pre and post diagnosis intake of smoked poultry and fish.

With this research the scientists concluded that high intake of grilled/barbecued and smoked meat may increase mortality after breast cancer.

Source: Journal of the National Cancer Institute


Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!