Low-fat diet helps those with breast cancer

Photo courtesy of CBS News
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This is a summary pulled from the article written by Dr. Tara Narula.

Researchers found that a low-fat diet helps reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer.

Tali Lando, a pediatric ear nose and throat surgeon, was diagnosed with an advanced breast cancer five years ago, at the age of 37. After surgery, chemotherapy and radiation Lando completely changed her diet.

“It could have significant impact on my long-term health,” said Lando. “You can't change your genetics and you can't change the reality of the tumor you were diagnosed with but you can only control certain things, and this is a big one...diet."

New data shows that impact is real. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, women who followed a balanced low fat diet had a 21% lower risk of death from breast cancer, and a 15% lower risk from death from any cause compared to women not on a low-fat diet. The twenty year study followed 48,835 post-menopausal women who did not have breast cancer when they enrolled.

One group adopted a lower fat diet with daily servings of fruits, vegetables and grains and cut fat intake to about 25% of total calories. The control group continued their normal diet, with fat accounting for about a third of total calories.

“You have to decrease your fatty intake if you actively want to be positively affecting your survival from this disease,” said Dr. Donna-Marie Manasseh, the Chief of Breast Surgery at Maimonides Medical Center. “It's almost like a license to give a prescription now to see a nutritionist and change your diet. These actually aren't hard things to do. I think the difficulty comes in what the availability is of these items in the house or in the home.”

The study suggests that dietary changes don't have to be drastic to have a lasting impact.