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Calorie intake linked to breast cancer

Caloric restriction at an early age protects against breast cancer. A recent study of women who suffered from anorexia helped draw this conclusion. There is an important role of caloric intake in the aetiology of breast cancer.

Calorie intake linked to breast cancer

There is an important role of caloric intake in the aetiology of breast cancer and caloric restriction at an early age protects against it. A recent study of women who suffered from anorexia helped draw this conclusion. Researchers from the Harvard Medical School in Boston studied 7,300 Swedish women hospitalised for anorexia nervosa before their 40th birthday between 1965 and 1998 and noted a significant (53 percent) decrease in breast cancer cases compared with what would be expected in the general Swedish population of women. The analysis showed that breast cancer rates among the anorexic women were 23 percent lower for those who had never had children, and 76 percent lower among those who were mothers, they report. It is known for decades that restricting caloric intake in animals is one of the most effective ways to reduce cancer risk but it's been unclear, however, whether the same is true in humans. Breast cancer research is now looking at earlier phases of a woman's life because there has not been much success in pinning down dietary risk factors for breast cancer in later phases. The results of the present study suggest that it is important to look at the role of diet during puberty or adolescence and breast cancer. The researchers will next explore the underlying mechanisms of the apparent protective effect of caloric restriction on breast cancer. There are two main hypotheses, one, that caloric restriction influences breast cell growth and development, and, two, that lower levels of oestrogen and growth factors induced by caloric restriction are involved.

JAMA,
March 2004
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