In the pink month or the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we publish a report below to remind our readers that diet is important in preventing breast cancer – a disease that will eventually develop in one in eight women in the United States in their lifetime.
Eating a Mediterranean diet may help significantly reduce risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women, according to a new study published in the July 14, 2010 issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests.
The study led by Antonia Trichopoulou from Epidemiology and Medical Statistics in Athens, Greece, along with colleagues from the Harvard School of Public Health showed that women whose diet was 2 points closer on a 0-9 scale to traditional Mediterranean diet were 22 percent less likely to develop breast cancer.
For the study, the researchers followed up on 14,807 women in the European Protective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort in Greece for an average of 8.8 years and identified 240 incident cases of breast cancer. Participants’ dietary patterns were evaluated on a 9-point scale for similarity to the traditional Mediterranean diet.
In the entire cohort, an increase of 2 points in the diet score was associated with a 12 percent reduction in the breast cancer risk. But the researchers said the association was not significant.
A diet 2 points closer to the Mediterranean diet did not seem to reduce risk of breast cancer among premenopausal women, but among postmenopausal it was associated with a 22 percent reduced risk of breast cancer.
A health observer suggested that the Mediterranean diet may be more protective than what the study shows due to the possibility that the assessment of the study participants’ diets could introduce errors.
Olive oil, a key component in the Mediterranean diet, has been associated with a lower risk of breast cancer, according to the background information in the study report by the researchers.
Monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil are at least partially responsible for the protective effect, the health observer suggested, because the use of olive oil means the participants used less vegetables oils such as corn oil and soybean oil, which contain tumor-promoting omega-6 fatty acids.
Breast cancer is expected to be diagnosed in more than 175,000 women and kill about 50,000 each year in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute. The good news is that breast cancer is in many cases preventable. From foodconsumer.