Study Says These 6 Foods Either Increase or Decrease the Risk of Breast Cancer

A study published in Breast Cancer Research identified six foods and nutrients that are associated with breast cancer incidence.

Researchers used data from 272,098 women participating in the EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) study. They assessed participants’ dietary intake of 92 foods and nutrients via completion of questionnaires that covered diet, lifestyle, and medical history. The study included individuals from 23 centers in 10 European countries: Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

Which foods increase and decrease the risk of breast cancer?

Six foods and nutrients were identified as associated with risk of breast cancer in the EPIC study (10,979 cases of breast cancer).

Higher intake of alcohol (hazard ratio [HR], 1.05; 95% CI, 1.03-1.07), beer/cider (HR, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.03-1.06) and wine (HR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.02-1.06) were associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. “This study reaffirms the well-established positive association between alcohol intake and breast cancer risk,” the authors noted.

However, higher intakes of fiber (HR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.94-0.98), apple/pear (HR, 0.96/ 95% CI 0.94-0.99), and carbohydrates (HR, 0.96; 95% CI 0.95-0.98) were associated with a lower risk of breast cancer. “Higher intake of dietary fiber and possibly fruit might be associated with reduced breast cancer risk,” the authors advised.

The researchers also evaluated an independent replication cohort from the Netherlands Cohort Study (2,368 cases of breast cancer) and found that estimates for each of these foods and nutrients were similar in magnitude and direction, with the exception of beer/cider intake, which was not associated with breast cancer risk in this cohort.