The risk of breast cancer can be reduced by replacing red meat with poultry, according to a study. The study stated that red meat consumption is associated with increased risk of this chronic illness and poultry consumption has the ability to reduce the risk of it.

Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women after skin cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. The institute stated that approximately 12.8 percent of women are likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lifetime.

The study, published in the International Journal of Cancer on Tuesday, focussed on the association between meat consumption and risk of breast cancer. The research found that poultry consumption can be protective while red meat consumption can increase the risk of developing this illness.

For the study, the researchers observed a total of 42,012 women for 7.6 years. They looked into the participants’ consumption habits of different types of meat. During the research, a total of 1,536 participants were diagnosed with invasive breast cancers.

The researchers found that women with the highest risk of invasive breast cancer were those who consumed high amount of red meat. The risk was 23 percent higher when compared with women who consumed less red meat.

The study also stated that increased consumption of poultry was tied to reduced risk of invasive breast cancer. The risk was 15 percent less in those who consumed high amount of poultry meat than those who had less amount of it.

While analyzing the data, the researchers also took into consideration various risk factors associated with breast cancer, including socioeconomic status, race, physical activity, obesity, alcohol consumption and other dietary factors. However, the research team was not able to find any change in the result. They were also not able to find any association between chemicals formed while cooking meat at high temperature or cooking practices and risk of breast cancer.

“Red meat has been identified as a probable carcinogen. Our study adds further evidence that red meat consumption may be associated with increased risk of breast cancer whereas poultry was associated with decreased risk,” lead researcher Dale P. Sandler, who is a researcher at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said in a statement.

“While the mechanism through which poultry consumption decreases breast cancer risk is not clear, our study does provide evidence that substituting poultry for red meat may be a simple change that can help reduce the incidence of breast cancer,” the researcher added.

breast cancer susceptibility
Breast cancer is a malignant growth that begins in the tissues of the breast. Pictured: Detail of breast cancer cells. Getty Images/American Cancer Society