Grilled, Barbecued and Smoked Meats May Lead to Worse Breast Cancer Outcomes

April 23, 2017


Take-Home Message:

Specifically prepared meats are associated with higher rates of breast cancer-specific death.


High intake of grilled, barbecued, and smoked meat may increase mortality risk among breast cancer survivors

Authors: Parada, Jr., H. et. al.
Source: J Natl Cancer Inst (2017) 109(6):djw299

Grilled, barbecued and smoked meats contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These are carcinogens (cancer causing chemicals) and appear to increase a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer. The investigators questioned whether or not these meats had any effect on women already diagnosed with breast cancer.

Over 1500 women diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996 and 1997 were interviewed about their diets at the time of diagnosis and again five years later. The death events were recorded over a median of 17.6 years.

Women who had a high intake of these meats before or after being diagnosed with breast cancer had a higher overall rate of death compared to women with low intakes.

This study suggests that, as PAHs increase risk of developing breast cancer, they may also increase the risk of breast cancer-related death. More investigation about the associations between these specific foods and breast cancer is needed.