Healthy Diet Has No Effect on Breast Cancer Recurrence

Dietary study finds equal incidence of breast cancer recurrence and mortality with healthy diet

TUESDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fiber has no effect on breast cancer recurrence or all-cause mortality, according to a report published in the July 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

As part of the Women's Healthy Eating and Living Study, John Pierce, Ph.D., of the University of California San Diego, and colleagues randomized 3,088 women with a history of breast cancer into two groups, one of which received intensive dietary counseling, cooking classes and newsletters to promote a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fibers. The comparison group received literature promoting a healthy diet.

After four years of follow-up, the intervention group had increased daily vegetable servings from 3.9 to 6.4, fruit servings from 3.5 to 3.6, fiber from 21 g to 25 g, while reducing energy from fat from 28.5 percent to 27.1 percent; the comparison group actually ate fewer fruits and fiber, and obtained more energy from fat. Nevertheless, the recurrence of breast cancer (256 in the intervention group versus 262 in the comparison group) and incidence of all-cause mortality (155 versus 160) was essentially the same in both groups.

"Among survivors of early-stage breast cancer, adoption of a diet that was very high in vegetables, fruit and fiber and low in fat did not reduce additional breast cancer events or mortality during a 7.3-year follow-up period," the authors conclude.

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