October is Breast Awareness Month.
And if you haven’t noticed, just look around and you’ll see “pink” almost everywhere you turn. Well, another new study found that a western diet of red meat, starches and sweets increases the risk for breast cancer among post-menopausal Chinese women.
In this study, researchers identified dietary patterns among women in the study based on their eating habits, classifying them as either “meat-sweet” or vegetable-soy” eaters. Participants were aged 25 to 64 years and were diagnosed with breast cancer between August 1996 and March 1998. The control group were selected from the Shanghai resident registry of permanent residents in urban Shanghai.
In-person interviews were completed for 1,459 breast cancer cases and 1,556 interviews were completed for the control participants.
This Shanghai data gave some interesting information of the population of Chinese women who were beginning to adopt more western-style eating habits.
The results showed the “meat-sweet” pattern was significantly associated with an increased risk for breast cancer especially among heavier post-menopausal women. It showed no overall associated risk for breast cancer with the “vegetable-soy” pattern.
This suggests that the “meat-sweet” pattern which adopts a more western-style eating habit, has a higher rate of obesity which increases the risk for breast cancer. Low consumption of a western dietary pattern in addition to healthy weight control may protect against breast cancer in a traditionally low risk Asian population.
Don’t forget to get regular breast screening (mammogram or thermogram) done especially after age 50.