The Plant Rx

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New Study Finds Plant-Based Diets Play Critical Role in Breast Cancer Survival

Posted by Jenn on December 28, 2010


Submitted by Dross on Fri, 2007-06-15 21:24.

New Study Finds Plant-Based Diets Play Critical Role in Breast Cancer Survival

A new study in the “Journal of Clinical Oncology” reinforces existing evidence showing that women with breast cancer can greatly reduce their risk of recurrence by eating a healthy plant-based diet rich in fruits and vegetables and making other healthy lifestyle choices, according to nutrition experts with The Cancer Project.

“Women coping with breast cancer deserve to know that plant-based diets and regular exercise can spell the difference between life and death,” says Jennifer Reilly, R.D., senior nutritionist with The Cancer Project. “In the battle against breast cancer, fruits, vegetables, and other low-fat vegetarian foods may be our most powerful weapons. Doctors must let women know that diet changes and exercise can help them beat this terrible disease.”

The new study, conducted by researchers with the University of California, San Diego, tracked dietary patterns and exercise habits among about 1,500 women who were diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer between 1991 and 2000. It found that the death rate for women who consumed a high-fiber diet rich in fruits and vegetables and practiced good exercise habits was 44 percent lower than the rate for women who exercised little and ate few plant-based foods.

There are more than 2 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, but many of these women eat fewer than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, consume too much fat, and lead sedentary lifestyles. But science has repeatedly shown that a plant-based diet composed of legumes, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can help prevent cancer and cancer recurrence.

A 2005 National Cancer Institute study found that breast cancer patients in the study who reduced their fat consumption lowered their risk of tumor recurrence by as much as 42 percent. High-fat foods, including beef, vegetable oils, and chicken, can boost the hormones that promote cancer cell growth. But most plant-based foods are naturally low fat and offer people a healthy way to stay slim. Maintaining a healthy weight is another key to preventing cancer recurrence.

In 1982, the National Research Council linked eating habits-particularly high-fat, meat-heavy diets-to cancer of the breast and other organs. The “Journal of the National Cancer Institute” recently reported that the rate of breast cancer among premenopausal women who ate the most animal (but not vegetable) fat was a third higher than that of women who ate the least animal fat.

The Cancer Project is a collaborative effort of physicians, researchers, and nutritionists who have joined together to educate the public about the benefits of a healthy diet for cancer prevention and survival. Based in Washington, D.C., The Cancer Project is an affiliate of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.



One Response to “New Study Finds Plant-Based Diets Play Critical Role in Breast Cancer Survival”

  1. […] you can read about how a plant-based diet can help those with Parkinson’s Disease, how a veggie diet aids in breast cancer survival, and how to get enough protein while hitting the […]

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