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Eating vegetables cuts risk of ER-breast cancer

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By David Liu, PHD

Sunday March 3, 2013 (foodconsumer.org) -- Eating vegetables may not prevent all types of breast cancer, but it does cut the risk of estrogen receptor negative or ER- breast cancer, according to a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Seungyoun Jung, ScD from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA and colleagues conducted the study and found women eating the highest amount of vegetables were nearly 20 percent less likely to develop ER- breast cancer, compared with those eating the lowest amount.

ER- breast cancer, accounting for 15 to 20% of all breast cancers, has few known modifiable risk factors, meaning that there are fewer things you can do prevent the disease, compared with other types of breast cancer.  The current study was intended to examine how eating fruit and vegetables can affect the risk of ER-breast cancer.
The researchers searched and found 20 cohort studies of 993,466 women who were followed for 11 to 20 years for their study,  Of the participants, 19,869 estrogen receptor positive ER+ and 4821 ER- breast cancers were identified.

broccoli_366079469.jpgTotal fruit and vegetable intake was found significantly inversely associated with the risk of ER-breast cancer, but not with the risk of total breast cancer or of ER+breast cancer.  It was further found that the inverse association fro ER-breast cancer was primarily attributed to vegetable consumption.

Specifically, those having the highest intake of vegetables were at 18% reduced risk for ER-breast cancer, compared with those having the lowest intake.

Total fruit consumption seemed to provide some protection, but not as significantly.  To be exact, those having the highest intake of fruit were 6 percent less likely to develop ER-breast cancer.

The finding is significant as there are fewer modifiable risk factors to influence the risk of ER-breast cancer.  This study suggests that eating large amounts of vegetables may help reduce the risk of ER-breast cancer.

Eating large amounts of vegetables has been known to reduce risk of colorectal cancer.   Vegetables are high in all sorts of vitamins and minerals.   Savvy food consumers know that vegetables can help prevent all sorts of diseases including heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes in addition to cancer.

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