Eating processed food such as bacon and sausage might lead to an increased risk of breast cancer, researchers have confirmed.

Researchers looked at existing studies linking the consumption of red and processed meat to breast cancer. They found that people who consume processed meat have a 9 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer than those who eat the lowest amounts, from 0 to 2 grams a day.

The findings were published in the International Journal of Cancer.

Adverse Effects Of Processed Meats

Many have been said about the excessive consumption of processed meat. In 2015, the World Health Organization has classified bacon, ham, sausage into Group 1 carcinogen, making them equally as unhealthy as smoking and drinking.

However, researchers argue that the link between processed meat and breast cancer in the past have provided inconsistent reports. The classification of processed meat as a carcinogen is based on evidence that it increases the risk of colorectal, pancreatic, and prostate cancers.

To confirm whether processed meats are increasing the risk of breast cancer in women, researchers reviewed 15 studies. A total of 1,254,452 women, 37,070 of which have breast cancer, were involved in the studies.

High intake of processed meat was also linked to a higher risk of postmenopausal breast cancer but not premenopausal breast cancer.

"Previous works linked increased risk of some types of cancer to higher processed meat intake, and this recent meta-analysis suggests that processed meat consumption may also increase breast cancer risk," stated Maryam Farvid of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and lead author of the review. "Therefore, cutting down processed meat seems beneficial for the prevention of breast cancer."

The researchers also looked at the risk of breast cancer with regard to consumption of red meat. From 13 studies involving 1,133,110 women, including 33,493 cases of breast cancer, the researchers did not find a significant increase in the risk of breast cancer.

Breast Cancer

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women across the United States. Every year, about 237,000 women are diagnosed with the disease.

Although not common, men make up 2,100 new cases in the United States. About 41,000 women die of breast cancer in the country every year.

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