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Meat Linked to Breast Cancer in Women Over 40

New research finds that older women who consume three pieces of bacon per week increase their risk of developing breast cancer by 20 percent.

A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Glasgow found that post-menopausal women who consumed more than nine grams of processed meat per week increased their chances of developing breast cancer by 20 percent. The cohort study—which examined 273,466 British women between the ages of 40 and 69—found that participants who consumed less than nine grams of processed meat (which equates to approximately three pieces of bacon) faced a 15-percent higher risk of developing the disease than women who did not consume the animal product at all. “In addition to the previously known effects of processed meat on other kinds of cancer,” study co-author Naveed Sattar said, “this adds further evidence that it may have a deleterious effect on breast cancer, particularly in postmenopausal 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.” In 2015, the World Health Organization classified processed meat as a carcinogen, and consumers in the United Kingdom have heeded the warning—with 28 percent decreasing their consumption of the disease-causing animal product in the six-month period ending in March 2017.

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