Breast Cancer Link With Diet

New research published in the journal Cancer Research on the breast cancer link with diet finds that high levels of dietary cadmium are likely to increase your chance of developing┬áthis form of┬ácancer. Cadmium is a metal that is naturally a part of our environment, and is also a part of many farm fertilizers. It doesn’t take much for the substance to make its way into food – breads, cereals, potatoes, root crops and veggies. Experts have known for a while now that cadmium is toxic and in some forms cancer causing according to doctoral student Bettina Julin at Stockholm’s’ Karolinska Institutet.

Cadmium has been associated with lung cancer in workers who were exposed to it, but the link with breast cancer is something new. Over the last 8 years, research on animals has found that cadmium has estrogen like effects. Estrogen is known to fuel the growth of some types of breast cancers, and can raise breast cancer risk in women after menopause.

For the latest work, Julin and her team followed almost 56,000 Swedish women taking part in the Swedish Mammography Cohort established in 1987-90. The subjects supplied information on their diet, as well as other details, and were followed for 12 years during which time there were 2,112 diagnoses of breast cancer in the study population.

The team divided the women into three groups, based on dietary intake of cadmium. The lowest intake was under 13 micrograms a day, the mid level look in from 13 to 16 micrograms per day, and the highest intake group consumed over 16 micrograms of cadmium per day.

The subjects who had the highest level of exposure to cadmium from the food they ate had a 21% higher risk of breast cancer. The risk was highest (27%) for lean to normal weight women than it was for overweight women.

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Dietary Cadmium Linked To Higher Risk Of Certain Cancers… Continued…

The link between cadmium and breast cancer was strongest for estrogen receptor positive (ER-positive) breast cancers. As the name suggests these are breast cancers fueled by estrogen. The link between cadmium and ER-negative cancer was too slight to be statistically significant. More work is needed.

The study findings are no reason to stay away from veggies and whole grains according to the researchers. In fact, they found that subjects in the research who ate a lot of these foods had a lower risk of breast cancer compared to women who were exposed to cadmium from other food sources. It’s not clear why, but researchers believe that whole grains and veggies might protect against developing breast cancer because of their antioxidant properties.

Understanding that cadmium works like estrogen in the body, and that estrogen promotes cancer growth are vital points to pass on – especially to women who have gone through menopause. If you’re concerned about your breast cancer link to dietary choices, be sure that you are making other smart, healthy lifestyle choices known to be good for you – curb your intake of alcohol, don’t smoke, be more active and keep your weight under control. Because while you can’t change your age or the genes you carry, there are still plenty of things you can do to keep your body healthy and cancer free.