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(CNN/BMJ.com) -- There's been a lot of debate on the effects of meat on our health. Now, a new study finds that eating a lot of red meat early in life can possibly raise the risk of breast cancer in women.

Although most studies have suggested that there is little or no association between breast cancer and red meat, much of the research has been done on older women.

Now, new data found in the latest edition of the British Medical Journal, indicates that eating a lot of red meat in a woman's younger years, could increase the risk of developing breast cancer in earlier in life.

A new study finds that eating a lot of red meat early in life can possibly raise the risk of breast cancer in women.

A group of Harvard researchers looked at data on over 88,000 pre-menopausal women who took part in the famous nurses' health study II. All participants had completed a questionnaire on diet in 1991, when the women were 36 to 45.

Investigators found those women who ate a lot of red meat had a 22% increased risk of developing breast cancer, while those women who at more poultry, fish, legumes and nuts, along with less red meat had a 17% lower risk of breast cancer overall

The study's authors believe that replacing red meat with a combination of other, less fatty proteins may reduce the risk of breast cancer. And although this study is a good beginning, further research is needed to better understand the relationship between diet at an early age and it's risk on breast cancer later in life.

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