How diet can impact breast cancer survival
New research shows that women may be able to improve their chance of surviving breast cancer without additional medications or state of the art medical treatments, by doing one simple thing- eating healthy.
Researchers at the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the National Cancer Institute found that a healthy diet can reduce the risk of death for women with breast cancer, particularly those with estrogen receptor-positive (Er-positive) breast cancer.
For women with Er-positive tumors, those who ate a better quality diet had a 45 percent lower risk of dying than those who ate a poor diet. For all breast cancer patients, women who ate a better quality diet had a 26 percent lower risk of death from any cause than women who ate poorly. The risk of death from causes other than cancer for women who ate a better diet was 42 percent lower than those who were eating a poor quality diet.
“One possible explanation for this finding is that ER+ survivors have better prognosis than survivors of ER- breast cancer and thus may be more likely to die of causes other than breast cancer and for these women, post-diagnosis diet quality may play a larger role in promoting longevity,” according to study authors.
Data for the study was compiled using participants from a large study of women’s health issues. A food frequency questionnaire completed by study subjects who recorded what food they ate, how much was eaten and how often they were eating. Researchers took this information to determine the diet quality of the food based on the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and a Healthy Eating Index, which scores foods on a scale of 0-100, with 100 being the healthiest.
“This study supports what dietitians have always taught,” says Nancy Moran, a registered dietitian at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill. “A healthy, well balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains, while moderate in high quality proteins helps protect against the onset of disease and also repleats the body aiding in the recovery process.”
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