How Does Diet Impact Breast Cancer Risk?

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Dietary habits are often said to sway the risk of cancer. Now, a large long-term study confirms the role played by a diet rich in fruits and vegetables in decreasing the risk of breast cancer.

A major study published in The BMJ earlier this year showed that people who integrate a lot of ultra-processed foods into their diet have a higher risk of cancer.

But recently, a team of researchers from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA, has conducted a large-scale, long-term study investigating in more detail the relationship between fruits and vegetables in a person’s diet and their risk of breast cancer.

This new study not only suggests that eating a lot of fruits and vegetables can lower breast cancer risk — and the risk of developing aggressive tumors, no less — but it also explains how much fruits and vegetables someone should ideally eat per day in order to offset risk.

Lowered risk of aggressive cancer tumors

The researchers were able to observe that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables appeared to be associated with a particularly lowered risk of developing aggressive types of cancer tumors, which grow and spread fast and are often resistant to traditional treatments, such as chemotherapy.

These include estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer, HER2-enriched breast cancer, and basal-like cancers, which are similar to another aggressive tumor type: triple-negative.

So what does this mean? According to the researchers, this suggests that fruits and vegetables contain other nutrients, such as antioxidants, that may contribute to offsetting cancer risk.

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