Poor Diet Linked to Premenopausal Breast Cancer Risk

Pharmacy Times, June 2017 Women's Health, Volume 83, Issue 6

A recent study has found that women who consume a diet associated with chronic inflammation as adolescents or young adults may face a heightened risk of premenopausal breast cancer.

A recent study has found that women who consume a diet associated with chronic inflammation as adolescents or young adults may face a heightened risk of premenopausal breast cancer.

The study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, evaluated data on 45,204 women aged 33-52 years who completed food frequency questionnaires about their diet as teenagers and adults. The participants were then separated into 5 groups based on the inflammatory score of the adolescent diet, with a high score defined by a diet low in vegetables and high in soft drinks, refined sugars and carbohydrates, red and processed meats, and margarine.

During a 22-year follow-up period, 870 of the participants were diagnosed with premenopausal breast cancer and 490 were diagnosed with postmenopausal breast cancer. Based on their analysis, the researchers determined that women in the highest inflammatory score group were 35% more likely to develop premenopausal breast cancer than those in the lowest score group.

“About 12% of women in the United States develop breast cancer in their lifetimes,” said Karin B. Michels, ScD, PhD, in a press release. “However, each woman’s breast cancer risk is different based on numerous factors, including genetic predisposition, demographics, and lifestyle. Our study suggests that a habitual adolescent/early adulthood diet that promotes chronic inflammation may be another factor that impacts an individual woman’s risk.”