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Eating too much processed meat doubles the risk of breast cancer ? but women can cancel out the added danger with dietary supplements, research claims.

Those who regularly consume ham, bacon, salami or sausages are twice as likely to develop the disease, a study found. However, the odds levels out if they take a daily pill comprising vitamins and minerals known to boost the immune system.

French scientists examine the case histories of 4684 middle-aged women who took part in a trial between 1994 and 2007.

Half the participants were given a daily capsule containing vitamins C and E plus zinc, selenium and beta carotene, the other half were given a placebo.

In total, 190 of the women went on to develop breast cancer.

?This suggests that supplemental and possibly dietary antioxidants may counteract the potential pro-carcinogenic effects of processed meat.?

In the placebo group, those who ate above-average amounts of processed meat were about 2.5 times more at risk of cancer.

SATURDAY STAR, 26 June 2014
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