October 16, 2018

Processed meat may up breast cancer risk

06 October 2018, 11:10 | Silvia Roy

Processed Meats Linked To Higher Breast Cancer Risk

What are processed meats and how much should we be eating?

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), breast cancer makes up 25 percent of all new cancer diagnoses in women globally. And now for the first time research has shown the connection of processed red meat with breast cancer.

This was made known by the Head of Breast Unit at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr. Florence Dedey.

For women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and have dense breasts on mammography, or who were diagnosed with breast cancer before age 50, annual breast MRI is recommended in addition to annual screening mammography.

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"The majority of newly diagnosed breast cancers as well as majority of breast cancer associated deaths occur in developing countries, including Ghana", Dr Nsiah-Asare said.

Research by the International Agency for Research on Cancer has revealed that of the over four thousand cases of breast cancer that will be diagnosed in Ghana this year, about a thousand of the patients are at risk of losing their lives.

October every year is dedicated to raising awareness about breast cancer through public education on breast cancer and treatments.

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"Alcohol causes one in 13 breast cancers which is why it's so important women are aware of the risks from drinking".

Cancer is the most well-known health risk when it comes to processed meat.

"For such and all other women, early detection is key and we as professionals and advocates should teach and encourage women to self-examine and ask for assistance to ensure early detection of breast cancers to enable best treatment outcomes". Unfortunately, more than half of the women who are treated in Ghana receive their treatment when the disease is rather advanced. "I would like to call on the Ghana Health Service and Ministry of Health to continue to put in and implement the right policies that will ensure effective treatment of breast cancer all across the country". Breast MRI can also be considered for those with history of breast cancer and those with precancerous cells at biopsy, especially if other risk factors are present.

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"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", said lead author Dr. Maryam Farvid.

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