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A new study found lower rates of what’s known as “estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer” among women who ate high amounts of fruits and vegetables. “These tumors — which do not respond to circulating estrogen — account for 15 percent to 20 percent of breast cancers, and have a lower survival rate than other types of breast cancer.” [1]Harvard School of public health noted that in the past there have been attempts to prove that eating more fruits and vegetables would lower breast cancer risk but there was not enough data to prove this.

Current studies have been looking at the relationship between breast cancer and the effect of exercise, weight gain or loss, and diet on breast cancer risk. Scientists are also exploring how common gene variations may affect breast cancer risk. Each gene variant has only a modest effect in risk (10 to 20%), but when taken together they may potentially have a large impact.[2] Other risk factors include; a person’s age or race. The environment can be another factor. Other risks are related to a person’s personal behaviors, such as smoking, drinking, and diet. “Some factors influence risk more than others, and your risk for breast cancer can change over time, due to factors such as aging or lifestyle.” Men can develop breast cancer, but this disease is much more common among women than men.

There are many subtypes of breast cancer including estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) breast cancer, and ER positive (ER+) tumors and each may have distinct etiologies. ER- tumors, which have lower survival rates and are less dependent on estrogen levels than ER+ tumors, account for only 15-20% of breast cancers. Seungyoun Jung, Sc.D., at the Channing Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and colleagues analyzed data from 20 cohort studies of women who were followed for a maximum of 11-20 years. The researchers found that total fruit and vegetable intake was statistically significantly linked to a lower risk of ER- breast cancer, but not with risk of overall breast cancer or risk of ER+ breast tumors. The results showed that the lower risk was mostly associated with higher vegetable consumption.

[1] Higher Fruit, Veggie Intake Tied to a Lower Risk of a tough to treat Breast Cancer, Friday Jan. 25th, 2013 Health Day News. http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=672851

[2] American Cancer Society,” What’s new in breast cancer research.” http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/detailedguide/breast-cancer-new-research

3. Ibid