Komen News: Study Proposes Possible Link between High Carbohydrate Intake, Breast Cancer Risk
Study Proposes Possible Link between High Carbohydrate Intake, Breast Cancer Risk
The results of a recent study conducted in Mexico City indicate that there could be a link between high carbohydrate intake and the risk of breast cancer.
The study looked at the dietary habits of over 1800 women in Mexico City. Of the study population, 475 women had been diagnosed with breast cancer and 1,291 women served as controls, or representatives of the general female Mexico City population not diagnosed with breast cancer.
Study participants were issued questionnaires that asked them to recall their dietary habits Study results based on the recall capabilities of subjects can be influenced by participants' bias or by memory lapses.
The study found that Mexican dietary patterns include a higher overall carbohydrate intake - over 65 percent of calories consumed - than U.S. dietary patterns (the U.S. population gets about 57 percent of their calories from carbohydrates), that are higher in animal fats and proteins.
The study found that:
- There is an association in pre- and post-menopausal women between high levels of carbohydrate intake and breast cancer risk.
- Sucrose (the common white sugar, such as cane sugar) appears more strongly associated with breast cancer risk than other forms of sugar, such as glucose and fructose.
- There was no association established for total fat intake and breast cancer risk in the study.
- Consumption of polyunsaturated fat was inversely related to breast cancer risk.
- Insoluble fiber may alter the absorption of carbohydrates and lower the risk of breast cancer in women who consume high levels of sucrose.
While the study's results are intriguing, Cheryl Perkins, M.D., senior clinical advisor for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation cautions that the population studied - pre- and post-menopausal Mexican women between the ages of 20 to 75 years - may not mirror the diversity of U.S. women of that age group in enough ways to make the findings relevant to all women in the U.S. However, there may very well be segments of the U.S.'s highly diverse population that mirror the study population.
"Studies like this one continue to add to our knowledge and understanding of the possible role of diet and nutrition in managing breast cancer risk," said Dr. Perkins. "We need more studies - and more mature studies -- of different populations, lifestyles and cultures to truly determine which dietary modifications are most relevant to reducing disease risk. We also need more studies to determine how early in life dietary modifications should be made, and for how long, in order to effect increased risk reduction," she said.
The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation advocates the practice of a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular physical activity and regular, age-appropriate health screening, including breast self-examination, clinical breast examination and x-ray mammography. Early detection of breast cancer is critical to the successful treatment and to the survival of the disease.
Isabelle, Romieu, Eduardo Lazcano-Ponce, Luisa Maria Sanchez-Zamorano, Walter Willett, and Mauricio Hernandez-Avila, "Carbohydrates and the Risk of Breast Cancer among Mexican Women", Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 2004; 13(8). August 2004.