A British study from the University of Glasgow has found that post-menopausal women who eat 9 grams or over of processed meat each day are 20 percent more likely to develop breast cancer. That means if you love eating sausages and bacon, it is bad news for you.
Researchers of the study claim that processed meats could account for one in six cases of breast cancer.
The study examined 260,000 middle-aged women in the UK and was published in the European Journal of Cancer.
The good news for younger women is that researchers found no link between eating processed meat and the disease.
A research poll from the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) early last year found only three per cent of Australians are aware that breast cancer can be dormant in the body for over ten years.
Dr Alessandra Muntoni, Director of Research Investment at NBCF, said in a press release that more investment is needed in research and communication.
“Through investing in research, we aim to ensure better and more timely detection, prediction, diagnosis and treatment for all stages of breast cancer, to save the lives of Australian women and men. However, there are many challenges to overcome to reach that goal”. she said.
“We know that breast cancer cells can remain dormant for long periods of time and appear in distant organs many years later.”
Professor Naveed Sattar from The University of Glasgow told The Times that “In addition to the previously known effects of processed meat on other kinds of cancer, [the study] adds further evidence that it may have a deleterious effect on breast cancer, particularly in post-menopausal women.”
“If you take it at face value and say there’s an association, then it means that if people were to eat less processed meat they might well reduce their risk of breast cancer.”
The study revealed that women who ate small portions of processed meat, on occasion, still have a 15 percent more at risk of developing breast cancer.
Dr Jasmine Just, the spokesperson for Cancer Research UK told The Times that the research didn’t take into account other factors that could affect breast cancer likelihood including family history or early screenings.
This study comes after the World Health Organisation issued advice about processed meat in 2015 and its link to bowel cancer.
According to Cancer Australia, there were 17,730 new cases of breast cancer in 2017 and 3,114 deaths. The chance of developing breast cancer dramatically increases for women when they hit 50-years-old.
The survival rate of breast cancer detected in an early stage is good, only one in five women, so it is important to look for potential signs and get regular check-ups.