According to Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD, a lead author of the report and cancer prevention expert at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. “It can be confusing with single studies when the findings get swept back and forth,”
“With this comprehensive and up-to-date report the evidence is clear: Having a physically active lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight throughout life and limiting alcohol — these are all steps women can take to lower their risk.” Doctor Anne McTiernan continued.
Brisk Walking, Alcohol and Breastfeeding
Furthermore, Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Breast Cancer practically assembled and evaluated the scientific research worldwide on how diet, weight and exercise affect breast cancer risk in the first such review since 2010. The report analyzed 119 studies, including data on 12 million women and 260,000 cases of breast cancer.
Based on the reports, it was discovered that drinking the equivalent of a small glass of wine or beer a day (about 10 grams alcohol content) increases pre-menopausal breast cancer risk by 5% and post-menopausal breast cancer risk by 9 percent. A standard drink is 14 grams of alcohol.
For regular/vigorous exercise, pre-menopausal women who were the most active had a 17 % decreased/low risk and post-menopausal women had a 10 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer in direct comparison to those who were the least active. Total moderate activity, such as walking and gardening, linked to a 13 percent lower risk when comparing the most versus least active women.
More so, according to reported analysis:
• Larger mammals with high percentile weight gain increases risk of post-menopausal breast cancer.
Over the last few decades, breast cancer has been the most dominant cancer in US women with approximately 252,000 recorded new cases which is expected this year. AICR estimates that most of the breast cancer cases in the U.S. and around the world could be prevented if women keep away from alcohol intake, and this is a mandatory prerequisite for physically active and maintaining a healthy weight.
Emerging Findings: Dairy and Veggies
The research finding was novel and exciting as it points to links between diet and breast cancer risk. Numerous evidence was presented — however, most of the evidence/proofs where limited — according to the evidence, starchy vegetables lowers risk for estrogen-receptor (ER) negative breast cancers, a less common but more challenging to treat type of tumor.
Limited evidence also links dairy, diets high in calcium and foods containing carotenoids to lowering risk of some breast cancers. Carrots, apricots, spinach and kale are all foods high in carotenoids, a group of phytonutrients studied for their health benefits.
These interesting links are intriguing but more research is needed, says McTiernan. “The findings indicate that women may get some benefit from including more non-starchy vegetables with high variety, including foods that contain carotenoids,” she said. “That can also help avoid the common 1 to 2 pounds women are gaining every year, which is key for lowering cancer risk.”
Basic and compulsory Steps Women Can Take
Although lifestyle risk factors are second to none, other established causes of breast cancer include being older, early menstrual period and having a family history of breast cancer.
Nonetheless, there are lots of factors that are beyond the control of women, according to Alice Bender, MS, RDN, AICR’s Head of Nutrition Programs, the good news from this report is that all women can take steps to lower their breast cancer risk.
According to Bender.”In any domain you find yourself responding to any physical activity, try to nudge it up a bit, either a little longer or a little harder. Make simple food shifts to boost protection — substitute veggies like carrots, bell peppers or green salad for chips and crackers and if you drink alcohol, stick to a single drink or less,”
He continued “There are no guarantees when it comes to cancer, but it’s empowering to know you can do something to lower your risk.”
S. J. Lowry, K. Kapphahn, R. Chlebowski, C. I. Li. Alcohol Use and Breast Cancer Survival among Participants in the Women’s Health Initiative. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, 2016; 25 (8): 1268 DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-16-0151