New Study Shows Low-Fat Diet Improves Breast Cancer Survival
Low-fat diets may be an important tool against breast cancer recurrence, says a new study funded by the National Cancer Institute. Breast cancer patients who reduced their fat consumption lowered their risk of tumor recurrence by 24 to 42 percent.
Researchers followed 2,437 post-menopausal breast cancer patients in the Women’s Intervention Nutrition Study for five years after standard surgery and cancer treatments. Researchers instructed 1,462 of the patients to continue their regular diets, while 975 patients were given intensive counseling with a dietitian to reduce their fat intake. The control group consumed an average of 51.3 grams of fat per day—which is still lower than the average American’s fat intake; the low-fat group averaged 33.3 grams per day—slightly more than in a typical vegetarian diet.
After five years, 12.4 percent of the women eating their usual diet had cancer recurrences, compared to only 9.8 percent of the low-fat diet group: a 24 percent reduction in recurrence. Low-fat dieters with estrogen-negative tumors experienced a 42 percent reduction in recurrence. Low-fat dieters with estrogen-positive tumors did not show a statistically significant benefit.
Other studies have shown that women who have been eating fewer fatty foods, more fiber, and more fruits and vegetables at the time of diagnosis live longer and are less likely to have a recurrence of cancer. For more information about diet’s effect on cancer, please visit www.CancerProject.org.