Womens Health

Breast Cancer and the Western Diet

Since more than 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, researchers are trying to find possible links and causes to breast cancer so that it can be better prevented and avoided. Out of many different risk factors researched, food is a hot topic in breast cancer risk literature. Specifically, does your diet put you at risk for breast cancer?

Diet And Cancer Risk

It has previously been found that different types of diets can pose differences in a woman's risk of breast cancer, all other things held constant. One of the major clues to this is found when you look at the differences in breast cancer rates between Asian (specifically Chinese and Japanese women) and American women. Women in Asia have a much lower rate of breast cancer than women in America. However, when Asian women immigrate to America, their risk of breast cancer increases, since Asian-American women have a higher risk of breast cancer than Asian women in Asia. This increase in breast cancer risk between Asian and American women may be due to a number of cultural factors, and one of these factors is diet.

It has been found that increased dietary fat, lack of certain vitamins, and alcohol on a daily basis all have been cited as risks. There has also been a study specifically on the effects of a Western-style diet in Asian women in Shanghai. Specifically, they found that the women who ate a Western-style "meat-sweet" diet (full of pork, poultry, organ meats, beef, lamb and saltwater fish, as well as candy, dessert, bread and milk) had a higher risk of breast cancer than the women who ate a more traditional Chinese "vegtable-soy" diet (composed of different vegetables, soy-based products and freshwater fish). The increased risk of breast cancer was most acute for cancer involving estrogen-receptor positive tumors. Post-menopausal women on the "meat-sweet" diet experienced a 90 percent increased risk for this type of breast cancer. The effects were found mainly in post-menopausal women compared to younger women, who has a lower risk of breast cancer.

Reduce Your Cancer Risk

So what can you do? Eat a healthy diet hight in fruits and vegtables and non-animal derrived proteins such as soy, legumes, and nuts. In addition, you can eat red meat, processed foods, refined sugars and dairy products on a less regular basis.


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