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Does a High-Fat Diet Increase Risk? Answer Isn’t Clear

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Does a high-fat diet increase your risk for breast cancer? We really don't know for sure. The results of a new study seem to suggest that eating a lot of fat doesn't increase risk. But the results of other studies suggest that a low-fat diet may reduce the risk of first-time breast cancer for women whose diets are very high in fat to begin with.

Diet is thought to be partly responsible for about 30% to 40% of all cancers. But diet alone is unlikely to be the "cause" or "cure" of cancer. Many other factors affect the role diet plays in risk. For example, a high-fat diet might affect breast cancer risk only if you've been eating a high-fat diet for a long time. Your weight may make a high-fat diet more or less of an influence on breast cancer risk. Many studies on diet and risk classify diets as 'high fat' or 'low fat' based on the participants' reports of what they ate, which may or may not be accurate.

We do know that eating a healthy diet combined with exercising and maintaining a healthy weight is an excellent way to help your body stay strong and healthy. Research has shown that getting the nutrients you need from a variety of foods, especially fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can make you feel your best and give your body the energy it needs.

More research is needed on the relationship between diet and breast cancer risk and the risk of recurrence. Stay tuned to breastcancer.org for all the latest information on diet and risk. And visit our Nutrition section to learn more about healthy eating and nutrition and breast cancer.

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