Diet rich in fatty food might be very appealing to the palate and stomach but it can increase one’s chances of getting breast cancer.
A study carried out at Michigan State University suggests that a diet high in saturated animal fats not only increases the chances of developing breast cancer but also speeds up the disease process.
The researchers have cautioned that consuming high fat diet during puberty can increase the chances of breast cancer in women and the effects might be permanent. Even if a lower fat diet is followed later in life, the effects cannot be reversed. This study was carried out in mice and human studies are required to further strengthen the evidence.
Human studies have already proven that obesity is a risk factor for breast cancer as it increases the levels of estrogen in the body. High fat diet is a major contributor to teenage obesity and might be an independent risk factor for breast cancer as well.
Another study published in Nutrients, revealed that smoking and diets rich in animal products have the strongest correlations with cancer incidence rates.
The strongest correlation with animal products was seen in cancers of the female breast, corpus uteri, kidney, ovaries, pancreas, prostate, testicles, and thyroid, and in multiple myeloma.
These studies clearly highlight the importance of diet in the development of cancer. Women should be cautious of this fact and cut down on fatty foods specially during puberty!
Healthy practices to avoid breast cancer:
- Avoid a high fat diet
- Regular exercise
- Keep BMI < 25kg/m2
The use of oral contraceptive pills (OCP’s) especially emergency contraceptive pills (morning after pills) is increasing rapidly among young women and this might be one of the factors responsible for the rise in the incidence of Breast Cancer in our country. Many studies conducted on this issue have failed to indicate a clear link between OCP’s and breast cancer. However, a recent study conducted by AIIMS, which was published in Indian Journal of Cancer has revealed a higher chance of breast cancer among regular users of OCP’s.
According to the study, breast cancer risk was found to be 9.5 times more in women with a history of consuming such pills regularly. The study included 640 women, out of which 320 were breast cancer patients. 11.9% breast cancer patients in the study had a history of using long term OCP’s as compared to 1.2% healthy individuals.
It is a well known fact that breast cancer is a hormone dependent cancer (mainly dependent of on estrogen) and the regular use of OCP’s leads to a disturbance in the normal hormonal status. Morning after pills (emergency contraceptive pills), which contain a higher dose of estrogen lead to a sudden surge in the levels of these hormones and are thought to be more harmful. The problem is that these pills are being consumed on a daily basis by many youngsters. The users of morning after pills were not included in this study.
Women should realize the importance of this study and more awareness needs to be created among young women regarding excessive use of emergency contraceptives. At the same point, more studies (prospective trials) are required on this issue to firmly establish a link between OCP’s and breast cancer.