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% CI) 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% CI 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.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.