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Diets rich in fibre help prevent breast cancer

Consuming a diet high in fibre has been linked with a reduced incidence of breast cancer in an analysis of all relevant prospective studies. 

The findings are published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.



Because studies have generated inconsistent results regarding the potential relationship between fibre intake and breast cancer,  Dr Maryam Farvid of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and her colleagues searched for all relevant prospective studies published through July 2019.

By pooling data from the 20 observational studies they identified, individuals with the highest consumption of fibre had an eight per cent lower risk of breast cancer.

Soluble fibre was associated with lower risks of breast cancer, and higher total fibre intake was associated with a lower risk in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women.  Dr Farvid says that the study “contributes to the evidence that lifestyle factors, such as modifiable dietary practices, may affect breast cancer risk.” 

 “Our findings provide research evidence supporting the American Cancer Society dietary guidelines, emphasizing the importance of a diet rich in fibre, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.”

Nevertheless, it is important to note that the findings do not demonstrate that dietary fibre directly reduces breast cancer risk, and further clinical trials are needed to test cause and effect.  It does, however, add to the growing body of evidence that lifestyle and diet play a significant part in preventing breast cancer. 

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