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Med diet 'cuts risk' of deadly type of breast cancer

07 March 2017 07:26

The study finds a Med diet can reduce the risk of a deadly form of breast cancer

The study finds a Med diet can reduce the risk of a deadly form of breast cancer

The risk of developing a deadly form of breast cancer can be cut by 40% by following a Mediterranean diet, new research has found.

According to a large study, monitoring 62,000 women over a period of 20 years, females are less likely to suffer from ER-negative breast cancer if they eat more olive oil, plant protein and fish.

Dr Panagiota Mitrou, director of research funding at the World Cancer Research Fund, which funded the new research, said: "This important study showed that following a dietary pattern like the Mediterranean diet could help reduce breast cancer risk - particularly the subtype with a poorer prognosis.

"With breast cancer being so common in the UK, prevention is key if we want to see a decrease in the number of women developing the disease."

Anyone suffering from breast cancer can take out medical travel insurance for added peace of mind when going on holiday.

Non-hormonal breast cancer

More than 55,000 British women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, and around 11,400 of these women die from the disease.

Of these diagnoses, 30% are found to be suffering from ER-negative cancers, which are not stimulated by the sex hormone oestrogen, and are more likely to prove fatal as they are often harder to treat than hormone-sensitive cancers.

Professor Piet van den Brandt, from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, who led the study published in the International Journal of Cancer, says the research suggests strong links between the Mediterranean diet and reduced oestrogen-receptor negative breast cancer risk among post-menopausal women, even in a non-Mediterranean population.

He said: "This type of breast cancer usually has a worse prognosis than other types of breast cancer".

A typical Mediterranean diet includes high intakes of plant-based proteins such as nuts, lentils and beans, whole grains, fish and "healthy" monounsaturated fats such as olive oil.

'Unpicking complexities'

Despite the effects on this specific form of the disease, the research shows that following a Mediterranean diet only has a weak non-significant effect on the risk of developing hormone-sensitive cancers.

But the news has been welcomed by breast cancer charities, with Emma Pennery, clinical director of the charity Breast Cancer Care, saying: "Breast cancer isn't just one disease - not all types have the same triggers and this study unpicks these complexities."

Alcohol, which has known links to breast cancer, was excluded from the study.

Dr Mitrou added: "We would welcome further research that helps us better understand the risk factors for the different breast cancer subtypes."