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Can Diet Lower the Rate of Breast Cancer Mortality?

It has been proven that eating healthy foods leads to a healthier life. What is yet to be proven is whether diet can lower breast cancer deaths.

Researchers in a new study found evidence which indicated that diet might lower the risk of dying from cancer. They analyzed data from over 48,000 women who had enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative.

  • At the beginning of the study, all the women were cancer-free. About 20,000 of them were assigned to alter their diet and lower their intake of fats to 20% of their calories daily. The women would eat more vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. The other group of women was educated on nutrition and healthy diet, but no instructions were given to them about changing their diet.
  • After a follow-up of eight years, the researchers embarked on tracking the number of cancer diagnoses and the causes of death of the women who had died. Among those diagnosed with breast cancer, there was 22% reduced risk for the women in the group that were instructed to take low-fat diet compared to those who were in the regular group. The low-fat diet group also had a 24% reduced risk of dying from other cancers, with 38% lower risk of mortality for heart disease. This was not the case for the women in the group that was subjected to diet education.
  • Previous studies focused on the effects of diet on cancer before diagnosis, but this study analyzed the diet effects on cancer after diagnosis. This shows that dietary intervention for breast cancer is much more important after diagnosis than before the diagnosis.

The researchers have suggested that diet should be included as part of the treatment programs for cancer and other diseases. There is a possibility that food can affect our biological processes and our response and vulnerability to disease.



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