In the past, doctors had theorized that modern diets that were high in fat caused increased breast cancer rates. Studies published in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) have proven that fat intake is not related to breast cancer.
The largest study was done for 14 years, from 1980 to 1994, and covered almost 90,000 women. The study tracked total fat as well as a variety of individual fat types. None of the fats - either on an overall scale nor on an individual fat type level - had any impact on rates of breast cancer.
Types of fats singled out for comparisons included animal fat, saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, trans-unsaturated fat, vegetable fat and monounsaturated fat. None were found to help or hurt breast cancer rates.
A similar study done by Northwestern University in 2001 compared women who ate a low fat, high fiber diet vs women who ate a standard American diet. The study found no differences in hormone levels or breast cancer rates in those women.
While eating fat does not influence your breast cancer rates, being fat does. Studies show that women with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher have an 18% higher chance of developing breast cancer compared to those of a BMI of 25.
A study published in Aug 2003 found that the fat cells of women collected estrogen and then released it, causing normal cells to turn cancerous. The research was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Other studies have found that up to 30% of breast cancer cases in older women are attributable to the women being overweight.
If you are overweight, take steps to slim down! It can not only help you feel better about yourself, but can have a lasting impact on your health - both now and in your future. With all of the awareness we have of the dangers of breast cancer, this is one proactive step you can work on daily to keep yourself healthy. Even small steps can add up!
Body Mass Index Calculator
BellaOnline Breast Cancer Site
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