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Nutrition and Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer (BC) is currently the leading global cause of cancer –related death in women. The American Cancer Society reported that the 5 year relative survival rate has improved from 63% in the 1960’s to 90% currently.

Identification of modifiable risk factors is needed to reduce the risk of relapse

A large body of literature has been reviewed by the World Cancer Research Fund. There exist increasing evidence that dietary factors play an important role in both the development and prevention of BC.

Risk Factors which have been investigated, include

  • Obesity BMI > 35kg / m2
  • Body fat distribution (intra abdominal visceral fat)
  • Alcohol intake
  • Red meat intake (well / over cooked)
  • Carbohydrate quality, Glycemic load and Insulin demand

Protective Factors which have been studied, include

  • High intake of Polyphenols and Phyto-oestrogens
  • Vit D status
  • Fatty acids (dietary marine n-3 PUFA)
  • Folate from specific vegetables (leafy / cruciferous)
  • Fiber intake

Also of significant interest is timing of exposure (early life diet; pre-menarche), exercise, ER/PR status, and ethnic origin. Specific dietary strategies, with reference to the above, will be discussed on this website.


  1. Chajes V and Romieu I: Review: Nutrition and Breast Cancer. Maturitas 77 (2014) 7-11.
  2. Rossi RE, Pericleous M, Mandair D, Whysand T and Caplin ME: The role of Dietary Factors in Prevention and Progression of Breast Cancer. Anticancer Research 34: 6861-6876 (2014)