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Childhood diet and breast cancer




I was saddened to hear that tennis star Martina Navratilova was diagnosed with breast cancer, but I''m so glad she has an excellent prognosis. I know Americans are looking forward to her full recovery and also looking for ways to protect themselves and their loved ones from this disease. 


The foods girls eat during childhood and throughout their lives appear to have an important effect on breast cancer risk. Countries with a higher intake of fat, especially animal fat, have higher breast cancer rates. The American diet, of course, is centered on animal products, which tend to be high in fat and low in important nutrients known to help prevent cancer. 


But studies show that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and other low-fat vegetarian foods may decrease the incidence of breast cancer. A low-fat plant-based diet can also help women with breast cancer greatly reduce their risk of recurrence. For more information about how a healthy diet can help fight cancer, visit 


Joseph Gonzales, R.D. 


The writer is staff dietitian for The Cancer Project in Washington D.C.



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Reader Comments

Article Comment J commented at 4/9/2010 3:28:00 PM:

Mr. Gonzales makes some very valid points. One thing that he did not mention is that men get breast cancer as well. It's not as well publicized as female breast cancer, but it is becoming increasingly more common because of those same dietary concerns. This means that everyone should be making dietary changes in order to lower their health risk.


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