Cancer-Free Teens

3 Protective Foods

Cancer Free

Cancer Free

Two linked papers in The BMJ shed new light on the relation of alcohol and diet with breast cancer and heart disease. The first study reports that high fruit consumption during adolescence may be associated with lower breast cancer risk while the second study finds drinking a little more alcohol as one gets older is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

US scientists tracked 90,000 nurses over two decades. The nurses reported their diet in early adulthood; half provided their diet during adolescence. The study found high fruit consumption (almost 3 servings per day) in the girls’ teen years was associated with a roughly 25% lower risk of breast cancer diagnosed in middle age.

Apples, Bananas and Grapes

In particular, greater consumption of apples, bananas and grapes during adolescence as well as oranges and kale during early adulthood was associated with reduced breast cancer risk. But there was no link between intake of fruit juice in either adolescence or early adulthood and risk.

The authors say their findings are in line with cancer prevention advice to eat more fruits and vegetables and suggest that food choices during adolescence may be particularly important.

Alcohol's 11% Cancer Link

Meantime, a second study in the same journal quashes the notion any benefit from alcohol imbibing outweighs abstinence. You may get a little less heart disease but will have higher breast cancer risk. Danish researchers tested the effect of a change in alcohol intake on the risk of breast cancer and heart disease. Alcohol is responsible for about 11% of female breast cancers in the UK.

Diet And Cancer

They followed the health of nearly 22,000 postmenopausal women in Denmark and found that women who increased their alcohol intake by 2 drinks per day over 5 years had around a 30% increased risk of breast cancer (but around a 20% decreased risk of coronary heart disease) compared with women with a stable alcohol intake.

However, results for women who decreased their alcohol intake over the five year period were not significantly associated with risk of breast cancer or coronary heart disease.

“Furthermore, risk of ischaemic heart disease can be reduced substantially by other lifestyle changes as well as by drugs such as statins shown to be effective in primary prevention,” researchers wrote.

REFERENCE
Maryam S Farvid, Wendy Y Chen, Karin B Michels, Eunyoung Cho, Walter C Willett, A Heather Eliassen. Fruit and vegetable consumption in adolescence and early adulthood and risk of breast cancer: population based cohort study. BMJ, 2016; i2343 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.i2343
Marie K Dam, Ulla A Hvidtfeldt, Anne Tjønneland, Kim Overvad, Morten Grønbæk, Janne S Tolstrup. Five year change in alcohol intake and risk of breast cancer and coronary heart disease among postmenopausal women: prospective cohort study. BMJ, 2016; i2314 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.i2314
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