HealthDay News — Research has suggested that diets high in barbecued, grilled, and smoked meats could increase the risk of breast cancer. Now, a new study finds these cooking methods may also lower survival after a breast cancer diagnosis. The findings have been published online January 4 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The study involved 1,508 women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996 and 1997. The women were interviewed about their eating habits after their breast cancer diagnosis, and again about five years later. The researchers took into account numerous factors in classifying patients as having low or high meat intake, including types of meats eaten and during which seasons. After 17.6 years of follow-up, the investigators found that 597 of the women had died, 237 of them from breast cancer-related causes.
The researchers found that eating lots of grilled, barbecued, or smoked meat before their cancer diagnosis was linked with a 23% (95% confidence interval, 1.03 to 1.46) increased risk of dying from any cause during the follow-up period compared with low intake. And an association was seen for higher odds of all-cause mortality and continuing to eat lots of meat cooked in this fashion after breast cancer diagnosis (hazard ratio, 1.31; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.96 to 1.78).
“It is not a randomized clinical trial, where participants are randomly allocated to receive the exposure or not,” study author Marilie Gammon, PhD, a professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told HealthDay. But, Gammon added, this study “is the first to report on whether intake of grilled and smoked meat is associated with mortality after breast cancer.”