Women who eat bacon and sausages every week are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer, researchers say.
According to a study by the University of Glasgow, post-menopausal women who eat just 9g of processed meat per day are 20 per cent more likely to contract the disease than those who avoid it.
Those behind the study said processed meats could account for one in six cases of breast cancer.
In younger women, however, there was no link between meats and the disease.
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The study follows advice issued in 2015 by the World Health Organisation that processed meats cause bowel cancer.
The research examined more than 260,000 middle-aged women in the UK. It was published in the European Journal of Cancer.
Professor Naveed Sattar from the University of Glasgow, told The Times: ‘In addition to the previously known effects of processed meat on other kinds of cancer, this adds further evidence that it may have a deleterious effect on breast cancer, particularly in post-menopausal women.
‘If you take it at face value and say there’s an association, then it means that if people were to eat less processed meat they might well reduce their risk of breast cancer.’
The study showed that women who ate small portions of processed meats infrequently were still 15 per cent more at risk of breast cancer.
But Dr Jasmine Just from Cancer Research UK said the study ‘didn’t take into account other important factors that affect breast cancer risk like screening and family history’.