Mediterranean Diet Reduces Risk of Deadliest Breast Cancer by 40 Percent

"We found a strong link between the Mediterranean diet and reduced oestrogen-receptor-negative breast cancer risk," said lead researcher Piet van den Brandt

Mar. 9, 2017
By Julie Al-Zoubi

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A new study has shown that women who eat a Mediter­ranean diet rich in fruit, veg­eta­bles, fish and olive oil are 40 per­cent less likely to get one of the most malig­nant types of breast can­cer.

Oestro­gen-recep­tor neg­a­tive (ER-neg­a­tive) breast can­cer is an aggres­sive form of post­menopausal breast can­cer. It accounts for around a third of all breast can­cers. ER-neg­a­tive is harder to treat than other forms of breast can­cer as it can’t be treated with hor­mone ther­apy. ER-neg­a­tive breast can­cer suf­fer­ers have low sur­vival rates.

This impor­tant study showed that fol­low­ing a dietary pat­tern like the med diet could help reduce breast can­cer risk.- Pana­giota Mitrou, World Can­cer Research Fund

Pana­giota Mitrou, direc­tor of research fund­ing at the World Can­cer Research Fund told the Tele­graph This impor­tant study showed that fol­low­ing a dietary pat­tern like the med diet could help reduce breast can­cer risk — par­tic­u­larly the sub­type with a poorer prog­no­sis.”

The results of the study revealed that par­tic­i­pants who adhered to a strict Mediter­ranean diet reduced their risk of devel­op­ing ER-neg­a­tive breast can­cer by around 40 per­cent.

Lead researcher, Piet van den Brandt told the Tele­graph, Our research can help to shine a light on how dietary pat­terns can affect can­cer risk. We found a strong link between the Mediter­ranean diet and reduced oestro­gen-recep­tor-neg­a­tive breast can­cer risk.”


The Nether­lands Cohort Study which looked at the effects of diet on can­cer was car­ried out by Maas­tricht Uni­ver­sity and funded by the World Can­cer Research Fund. The trial tracked over 60,000 women aged from 55 to 69, for a period of 20 years.

Emma Pen­nery, clin­i­cal direc­tor at the UK char­ity Breast Can­cer Care told the tele­graph, This study adds to evi­dence that a healthy diet full of good’ low sat­u­rated fats plays a part in low­er­ing risk of the dis­ease.”

The Nether­lands Cohort Study was the lat­est research to con­clude that a Mediter­ranean diet is con­ducive to pre­vent­ing can­cer. Diet has long been rec­og­nized as one of the major risk fac­tors for devel­op­ing breast can­cer and other forms of the dis­ease.

Results from a 2016 trial in Italy, showed a lower rate of breast can­cer relapses among women who had adhered to a Mediter­ranean diet. In the trial, 307 women who had been treated for early breast can­cer were given the choice of fol­low­ing their nor­mal diet or switch­ing to a Mediter­ranean diet.

199 of the par­tic­i­pat­ing women opted to fol­low a Mediter­ranean diet, which included plenty of extra vir­gin olive oil (EVOO). The remain­ing 108 women stuck to their nor­mal diet. After three years it was found that 11 of the women who had eaten a nor­mal diet had suf­fered a relapse. None of the women who fol­lowed a Mediter­ranean diet suf­fered a recur­rence of the dis­ease.

A 2015 study by Toledo and Col­leagues indi­cated that the risk of get­ting inva­sive breast can­cer was reduced by 68 per­cent in peo­ple who con­sumed a Mediter­ranean diet sup­ple­mented with EVOO.

This lat­est study into the effects of the Mediter­ranean diet adds to the grow­ing body of find­ings that a Mediter­ranean diet rich in olive oil is an effec­tive weapon against can­cer.

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