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Breast cancer risk lower in women eating flaxseed

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By David Liu, PHD
Saturday Feb 16, 2013 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new study recently published in Cancer Causes and Control suggests that eating flaxseed often may help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer in women.

Beth Lowcock from Prevention and Cancer Control, Cancer Care Ontario in Toronto, ON, Canada and colleagues conducted the study and found women who ate flaxseed often at reduced risk for breast cancer.

Flaxseed is the richest source of dietary lignans, a class of phytoestrogens, which may affect the risk of breast cancer.

For the study, 2,999 women with breast cancer and 3,370 healthy women were surveyed for their consumption of flaxseed and flax bread and and the dietary information was analysed to examine if flaxseed consumption is associated with risk of breast cancer. 

The researchers found flaxseed consumption was linked to 18% reduced risk of breast cancer.  Similarly, eating flax bread was associated with 23 percent reduced risk of the cancer most commonly found women.

The researchers concluded "flaxseed intake is associated with a reduction in breast cancer risk. As dietary intake of flaxseed is modifiable, this finding may be of public health importance with respect to breast cancer prevention."

Breast cancer is expected to be diagnosed in 230,000 women in the United States each year and the disease and its complications are expected to kill at least 37,000 patients annually in the U.S., according to the National Cancer Institute.

Breast cancer in many cases are preventable.

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