Women | The diet link to increased breast cancer risk

         The diet link to increased breast cancer risk

Nearly 60 per cent of cancer incidence in women is diet-related, new reports say. Other risk factors include alcoholism.

Increased risk to breast cancer, the most common cancer among women, is now being linked to several diet and lifestyle factors. It has been reported that nearly 40 per cent of all cancer incidence in men and 60 per cent in women is diet related.
Uses of breast feeding :

This is besides the well-established risk factors such as age at menarche, parity (number of children), age at birth and breastfeeding. In fact, age at menarche too is strongly determined by dietary factors: Restricted dietary intake during childhood and adolescence delays menarche while high caloric intake and obesity may result in early menarche.brf1

Recent research has identified many constituents in food which cause, promote and protect from breast cancer. While there are several dietary causes for breast cancer, other important risk factors include obesity, alcohol and the lack of physical activity.

The impact of obesity and lack of physical activity as independent risk factors in causing and promoting breast cancer has only recently been established. Obesity increases breast cancer risk in post-menopausal women by about 50 per cent. Not only high body mass index (BMI), but also central obesity — high waist circumference — increases the risk of developing breast cancer in pre-menopausal women.

Obesity causes cancer :
Upper body obesity and related metabolic disorders, type 2 diabetes have been identified as risk factors for breast cancer, and associated with late-stage disease and a poor prognosis. Components of the metabolic syndrome, including visceral adiposity (central obesity), insulin resistance, hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels) and high insulin levels, have all been related to increased breast cancer risk.b3

Interestingly, numerous scientific studies have shown that increased hip circumference has also been found to contribute to increased risk of breast cancer among pre-menopausal women. A 2011 French study, conducted on about 63,726 pre-menopausal women, reported that the risk of breast cancer increased with increasing weight, body mass index, and both increased hip and waist circumference.

High carbohydrate Diet :

High carbohydrate diets with rapidly absorbable carbohydrates (high glycemic index carbohydrates) lead to high insulin levels and favour central obesity. Not surprisingly, several recent studies have confirmed that rapidly absorbed carbohydrates are associated with postmenopausal breast cancer risk among overweight women and women with large waist circumferences.

Large body of data from well-designed studies has consistently shown an increase in risk with increasing
consumption of alcohol, with about a 10 per cent increase in risk for an average of 1 alcoholic drink a day. So, women who drink must adhere to the limit of no more than one small drink every alternate day.al2

Lack of physical activity too has been found to be an independent risk factor for breast cancer. At least 60
minutes per day or 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity for people aged 18 and over can reduce the risk breast cancer (WHO, 2011). So, it is essential that we work towards a flat belly by limiting intake of high glycemic index foods including white flour, white rice, added sugar, sweetened beverages and alcohol. Instead, choose a diet rich in whole grains like oats, barley, brown rice and whole wheat; pulses, nuts and seeds, low fat dairy, seafood, lean meats and green leafy vegetables.

Good nutrition along with regular physical exercise can help play a powerful role in reducing the risk of breast cancer.

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