Many studies are looking at the relationship between diet and breast cancer risk. Each study is different, but there are some results that are useful to all women. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet that has a lot of fruits and vegetables and is low in fat is good for you. It can also help lower your risk of breast cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight also is important to good health, including breast health.
But typical Western diets usually have much more red meat, candy, desserts, and processed snacks than what's recommended for a healthy diet. Traditional Eastern diets eaten by Chinese and other Asian women usually are closer to the recommended healthy diet.
Researchers compared breast cancer risk in postmenopausal Chinese women who ate a typical Chinese diet to breast cancer risk in postmenopausal Chinese women who ate a typical Western diet. The results are striking but not surprising. Older postmenopausal Chinese women who ate a typical Western diet had nearly double the risk of breast cancer compared to women who ate a typical Chinese diet. The risk increase was highest for hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers. Besides the effect of the Western diet, the researchers also thought that the obesity that tends to happen after eating a Western diet contributed to the increased risk.
Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight are things you can do to improve your overall health and lower your risk of breast cancer. To learn more about nutrition and breast cancer risk, visit the breastcancer.org Nutrition section.