The link between diet and breast cancer
Cancer is an insidious disease that affects just about every part of the body , including the breasts . The World Cancer Research Fund International indicates there were more than 2.26 million new cases of breast cancer in women in 2020 .
Women understandably want to learn what they can do to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer . One of the first considerations may be analyzing diet and determining if it is affecting breast cancer risk .
A variety of factors affect a woman ’ s risk for developing breast cancer , and certain lifestyle choices , including diet , can play a role . However , according to Healthline , the risk factors with the biggest impact include sex , age and genetics . Lifestyle can influence breast cancer risk but not at the same levels as genetic markers , family history , gender , or age . However , women interested in doing all they can to stay healthy may want to take a closer look at the foods and beverages that can adversely affect breast cancer risk .
Healthy food choices are linked to lower incidences of cancer and other conditions . Susan G . Komen states that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables may be linked to a lower risk of developing breast cancer . A pooled analysis of data from 20 studies found women who ate the most vegetables had a lower risk of estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer ( but not estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer ) compared to women who ate the least vegetables , according to a 2013 report published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute . And it doesn ’ t really matter if produce is organic or not . According to the American Cancer Society , the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables outweigh any health risks linked to pesticide residue .
The complex relationship between fat , sugar and cancer
Though a single food will not lead to higher breast cancer risk , overeating and putting on excess weight can increase risk . That is why it is essential to get plenty of exercise each week and monitor calorie consumption . While women who are in their reproductive years may not see as much breast cancer risk from being overweight or obese , after menopause , that risk increases , says Susan G . Komen . The risk is not directly related to fatty foods , however . The American Cancer Society says an examination of the amount of fat eaten by women in the United States found no link between fat and breast cancer risk .
In addition , while consuming too much sugar may not be healthy in the long run , it ’ s a myth that “ sugar feeds cancer .” Eating sugar may lead to weight gain , which may increase the risk of breast cancer , says the ACS .
One component of diet that has been studied extensively is the effects of alcoholic beverages on breast cancer risk . Susan G . Komen reports that a pooled analysis of data from 53 studies found women who had two to three alcoholic drinks per day had a 20 percent higher risk of breast cancer compared to those who didn ’ t drink alcohol . Alcohol should be limited to one drink per day for the average woman , or none at all , if possible .
Diet is only one factor in the risk for developing breast cancer . While important , there are other components that increase risk by a more significant margin .
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