Meat, fish and egg intake and risk of breast cancer

Michelle D. Holmes, Graham A. Colditz, David J. Hunter, Susan E. Hankinson, Bernard Rosner, Frank E. Speizer, Walter C. Willett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Intakes of animal protein, meat, and eggs have been associated with breast cancer incidence and mortality in ecological studies, but data from long-term prospective studies are limited. We therefore examined these relationships in the Nurses' Health Study. We followed 88,647 women for 18 years, with 5 assessments of diet by food frequency questionnaire, cumulatively averaged and updated over time. We calculated the relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% Cl) for risk of developing invasive breast cancer, over categories of nutrient and food intake. During follow-up, 4,107 women developed invasive breast cancer. Compared to the lowest quintile of intake, the RR and 95% Cl for the highest quintile of intake were 1.02 (0.92-1.14) for animal protein, 0.93 (0.83-1.05) for red meat and 0.89 (0.79-1.00) for all meat. Results did not differ by menopausal status or family history of breast cancer. We found no evidence that intake of meat or fish during mid-life and later was associated with risk of breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-227
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 20 2003


  • Breast cancer
  • Egg intake
  • Fish intake
  • Meat intake
  • Observational study
  • Women


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