July 17, 2007 -- New research suggesting that a low-fat, high-veggie diet may do little to ward off breast cancer's return is causing a stir in cancer and diet communities alike, with many critics of the new findings citing past evidence to the contrary.
Though the jury may still be out on the exact nature of the connection between breast cancer and diet, few disagree with the idea that a healthy diet can go a long way toward improving a breast cancer survivor's health and quality of life.
Below are a few tips from breastcancer.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing information and community to those touched by breast cancer:
Contrary to the current findings, studies in the past have shown that a low-fat diet can reduce the likelihood that breast cancer will recur. Nutrition and cancer experts stress adherence to a diet low in animal fats and high in fruits and vegetables.
Watch those scales -- maintaining a healthy weight may help reduce the risk that breast cancer will return. In a 2005 study, researchers found that women who gained weight after their breast cancer diagnosis had an increased risk of recurrence. Other studies further suggest that overweight women have an increased risk of breast cancer after menopause compared with women at a healthy weight.
It's not just about diet. Researchers have shown that exercise can also help women who have survived breast cancer remain cancer-free. These health effects appear to be above and beyond those of a healthy diet alone.
For more information on diet, nutrition and breast cancer, check out breastcancer.org's section on Nutrition and Breast Cancer.
Other cancer resources on the web:
The American Cancer Society (http://www.cancer.org)
The National Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov)
MedlinePlus: Cancer (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/cancer.html)