Lymphoma & Meat.

Women who eat red meat frequently have a higher risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, says a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health. The cancer of the lymph glands is on the upswing among older people.

Shumin Zhang and her colleagues tracked more than 88,000 women who enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study in 1980. After 14 years, they found that women who reported eating red meat (beef, pork, or lamb) as a main dish at least once a day had a risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma roughly twice that of women who ate red meat less than once a week.

Women who ate the most trans fat also had double the risk of lymphoma. Among the largest sources of trans were margarine, red meat, cookies, cakes, and pies.

"The risk of lymphoma is probably related to saturated fat or trans fat or to some unknown factor in red meat," says Zhang. Trans seems to have an independent effect, she adds.

While we need more research, says Zhang, the results are consistent with another large study, which found a higher risk of the disease in women who consumed more hamburger.

J. Nat. Cancer Inst. 91:1751, 1999.


By Bonnie Liebman

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