April 19, 2010
A study we reported early hints that teenagers drinking alcohol are at higher risk for benign breast cancer disease, which can lead to development of breast cancer in adulthood.
The message is that teenagers should not drink alcoholic beverages, which actually have been recognized by the U.S. federal government as cancer-causing agents.
What can a food consumer do to minimize the risk of benign breast disease or BBD? A recent study suggests that a female’s diet has some influence on her risk for the disease.
The study led by Su X and colleagues from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School showed that women who had highest intakes of dietary fiber were 25 percent less likely to develop BBD.
But be aware that having a high fiber diet does not necessarily offset the cancer causing effect of alcoholic beverages.
In any case, the current study was meant to examine the association between adolescent fiber and nut intake and proliferative BBD, a marker of increased breast cancer risk.
Subjects were 29,480 women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study II and completed a high school diet questionnaire in 1998. Between 1991 and 2001, 682 proliferative BBD cases were identified.
The researchers found women in the highest quintile of fiber intake as teens had a 25 percent lower risk of prolifierative BBD than those in the lowest quintile.
In addition to dietary fiber, high school intake of nuts was also associated with reduced BBD risk.
To be specific, women who used 2 or more servings of nuts per week were 36 percent less likely to be diagnosed with BBD compared to those who consumed less than one serving per month.
The findings reported in the March 14 2010 issue of Cancer Causes and Control suggest that eating a diet full of fiber and nuts at young ages may help women reduce their risk for breast cancer.
Breast cancer is diagnosed in more than 170,000 women in the United States each year and the disease kills about 50,000 annually in the country, according to the National Cancer Institute.