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by Sarah Eliason
Health Sciences & Educational Services Dept.
October 10, 2011
Breast cancer prevention efforts and awareness can help you reduce your risk of breast cancer.

Steps such as self-tests, routine check-ups and adjusting your lifestyle can make a difference. For example, increasing your fiber intake may do more than just support intestinal health; it may also decrease your risk of breast cancer. A recent report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that increased dietary fiber consumption protects against the risk of breast cancer. Women who consumed the most fiber averaged an 11 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared to those who ate the least.

The reviewers evaluated data from 10 published studies of breast cancer risk and dietary fiber intake. More than 700,000 study participants were involved, and the studies looked at women’s diets and cancer risks from a period of 7 to 18 years.

Overall, the report found an 11 percent reduced risk of breast cancer for the highest compared to the lowest intake of dietary fiber. Variables such as alcohol use, hormone replacement therapy, body weight and family history of breast cancer were taken into account. The report also showed that for each 10 grams of additional fiber a woman eats daily, her risk of breast cancer drops by approximately 7 percent.

The researchers concluded that, “This meta-analysis provides evidence of a significant inverse dose-response association between dietary fiber intake and breast cancer risk,” suggesting that a healthy, daily dose of fiber supplements could support breast cancer prevention efforts.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, most Americans don’t get enough fiber.

The guideline states that dietary fiber is a nutrient of public health concern in American diets and suggests choosing foods that provide more fiber. The guidelines recommend that women eat at least 25 grams of fiber per day and men eat at least 38 grams, but the usual intake is only 15 grams per day. High-fiber supplements can help meet optimal daily fiber amounts.

References:

Dong JY, He K, Wang P, Qin LQ. Dietary fiber intake and risk of breast cancer: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011 September;94(3):900-5. Epub 2011 July 20.

U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. 7th Edition, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, December 2010.

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