Women treated for breast cancer who stick to a low-fat diet after treatment may be able to cut their risks of recurrent cancer by 24%, according to a new study, MSNBC.com reports. Five-year data from the ongoing Women's Intervention Nutrition Study show that breast cancer patients who reduced their fat intake from 29% of their daily caloric intake to about 20%--eating about 33 grams of fat a day--had a nearly one-quarter lower rate of cancer recurrence than women who ate an average of 51 grams of fat per day.
Additional studies are continuing as to precisely what components of the low-fat diet conveyed cancer-recurrence benefits for the women studied. For example, different proportions of fat or different types of fat--like the healthful omega-3 fats in fish, walnuts, and flaxseed--may have varying cancer-prevention effects. It's also possible the high-fiber nature of some low-fat foods like cereals, fruit, and vegetables are as equally important in cancer prevention as simply cutting out food with saturated fats like snack foods, cookies, and doughnuts.
Weight loss associated with a low-fat diet also likely plays a role in cancer prevention, the researchers say, particularly since previous studies have linked being overweight or gaining weight with a higher risk of breast cancer.
Some studies have suggested that lesbians are at a higher risk for breast cancer than heterosexual women.