A new study has found that postmenopausal breast cancer survivors who cut down on fats in their diet can reduce their risk of tumor recurrence.
WebMD reports the following details on the study:
The study included 2,437 women aged 48 to 75. All were treated with surgery for breast cancer, followed by radiation, chemotherapy, and hormone treatment, if needed. Every three months, they received some general dietary guidance.And the results:
Nearly 1,000 of the women were also entered into an intensive nutrition program... Women who received the intensive counseling reduced the amount of fat in their diet from 51 grams per day to about 33 grams a day, or from 29% to 21% of their total daily calories.
At five years, less than 10% of those on the low-fat diet had their cancer recur. Twelve percent of the women who continued on their usual diet had cancer recurrence during this time. This translates to about a 24% reduction in risk, [researcher Rowan T] Chlebowski says.This study just adds to the growing body of evidence that diet has an important role in the incidence of cancer. There are two caveats, though.
Most breast cancers are fueled by estrogen, and because of this several treatments are available that block hormones to the breast and reduce the risk of recurrence.
Women whose tumors were not fueled by hormones -- a high-risk group that account for about 30% of women with breast cancer -- benefited the most. Their chances of recurrence fell by about 42% when limiting dietary fats.
First of all, although the women on the low-fat diet benefited as a group, the researchers are not clear on whether the benefit was derived from the low amount of fat consumed or from other factors -- for example, weight loss, increase in fibre consumption.
Secondly, for the study subjects a whole -- as opposed to just those women whose tumours were not fueled by hormones -- the recurrence rate dropped from 12 percent for those on their usual diet to 10 percent for those on the low-fat diet -- all of 2 percentage points.
More studies on this would certainly be helpful.