Is Chicken Cancerous?

Is chicken cancerous?     

There is no scientific evidence to show that eating white meat, such as chicken, can increase cancer risk.

Chicken and other types of poultry (such as duck) don’t seem to increase cancer risk like red meat.

Chicken is the most common type of poultry in the world. Chicken has been domesticated for their meat and eggs for thousands of years.

Chicken is one of the high protein sources that found in our diet. Protein plays an important role in our diet. It is made of amino acids, which are the building blocks of our cells. We need protein to repair tissues, muscle, skin, hair, blood, and to keep our immune system strong. All antibodies, enzymes, hormones in our body, are proteins. When our body doesn’t get enough protein, it takes longer to recover from illness and we may have lower resistance to infection.

Chicken is also a dietary source of vitamin B complex (i.e. niacin, folate, B-12), iron and zinc. Vitamin B complex is important to maintain metabolism in your body. Individual with low intake of vitamin B complex may experience fatigue despite with good appetite. Iron is important for blood formation, and zinc is important for immunity.

Chickens raised in commercial farms under confined are required by authorities to use animal drugs such as antibiotics to prevent infection and disease outbreak. However, we should not too worry on the effect of animal drugs on human. Reports shown that drug residues are very low in animal muscle, except liver and kidney. Therefore, it is safe for human to consume only the meat, but not any internal organs.

Although studies have not linked chicken and poultry consumption with increased cancer risk, we still need to ensure that we are having balanced diet. The recommendation is follow the “Health Eating Plate” model:

  • Fill 3/4 of your plate with plant-based foods (1/2 plate with vegetables, beans or legume, another 1/4 with carbohydrate food like rice or whole grains, tubers)
  • Protein food like fish, chicken, egg should be 1/4 of your plate.

Cancer patients on chemotherapy and radiotherapy need more protein than healthy people. They are encouraged to have a greater variety of food, especially protein food. Chicken can be part of their diet. There is no restriction for cancer patients to eat chicken.

Marcus Lee, Dietitian