"This study provides further evidence that low fruit and vegetable intake in the Western diet may be a major risk factor in developing breast cancer," said Jackilen Shannon, Ph.D., R.D., assistant professor of public health and preventive medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine, member of the OHSU Cancer Institute and lead author of the study. "Women should modify their diet to include more fruits and vegetables to help prevent breast cancer."
Though breast cancer is the primary cause of cancer death among women worldwide, the risk of breast cancer varies drastically from one part of the globe to the next. Studies have shown a doubling of breast cancer incidence among Chinese women who move from China to live in Hong Kong or the United States, suggesting that environmental and lifestyle differences, including diets, may be to blame.
For the study, which was conducted in Shanghai, China, researchers compared the diets of 378 women diagnosed with breast cancer to the diets of 1,070 age-matched, cancer-free women in a control group. Study participants answered a questionnaire about their eating habits. The questionnaire was designed to reflect the Chinese diet and included inquiries about intake of 108 individual food items, fried and restaurant foods, and dietary changes as well as use of nutrient supplements and Chinese herbal medicines.
"In addition to looking at associations with traditional food groupings, the results offer one of the few analyses between different botanical groups and breast cancer risk," Shannon said.