Can eating fruits and vegetables lower your risk of developing breast cancer?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Total fruit and vegetable intake is linked to lower risk of developing estrogen receptor negative (ER-) breast cancer in women.
WHAT WE KNOW
In the United States, breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women and kills more women than any other cancer, except lung cancer. There are a number of risk factors such as age, genetics, personal factors, being overweight, and drinking alcohol.¹ Early detection is key and that’s why it is important to perform breast self-exams and to have mammograms done, as prescribed by your doctor. Numerous studies have been conducted showing that increased fruit and vegetable consumption may reduce the risk for several types of cancer, but studies have been inconclusive regarding breast cancer. One such study recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that total fruit and vegetable intake is significantly linked to a lower risk of developing one subtype of breast cancer, those that are estrogen receptor negative (ER-). While ER- tumors account for only 15-20% of breast cancers, they have lower survival rates and occur more often in younger women.²
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
The study included data collected from more than 990,000 women who were followed for 11 to 20 years across 20 different cohort studies. Researchers compared high to low fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of developing breast cancer. An inverse relationship was observed between total fruit and vegetable intake (especially vegetables) and risk for developing ER- breast cancer, but not with risk of breast cancer overall or breast tumors that do express the estrogen receptor (ER+). Study results even supported a beneficial effect of overall fruit and vegetable consumption for ER- breast cancer, rather than a few specific fruits and vegetables.
This is yet another reason to eat more fruits and vegetables! They are an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and eating a variety of them is essential. We offer hundreds of recipes featuring all forms of fruits and veggies! Try our Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples for a delicious fruit and vegetable combination.
Don’t forget to incorporate daily exercise into your routine. Take your family to the park for a game of softball and a healthy picnic! Or try a joining group exercise classes. Not only are they a fun way to get involved in physical activity, they’re also a great place to meet new friends!
It is important to see your physician immediately if you suspect a change in your breast health.
¹”Breast Cancer: MedlinePlus.” U.S National Library of Medicine
. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2013. View Article
²Spiegelman, Donna, et al. “Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Risk of Breast Cancer by Hormone Receptor Status.” Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2013): n. pag.