Study: Lower Fat Diet Reduces Recurrence of Breast Cancer

As we have discussed previously, many studies point to a link between diet and cancer. Studies that consider long-term diets, and the diets of the very young, suggest particularly strong ties. Studies in which middle-aged people have made modest dietary changes for only a few years have had mixed results (which can create confusion and be discouraging for those who are interested in eating the healthiest diet possible).

In May, however, a study was released showing that women who had been treated for breast cancer decreased their likelihood of a recurrence with a modest reduction of fat intake. In a a question-and-answer session describing his study, Rowan Chlebowski of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center explains that the research involved more than 2,400 women as part of the Women's Intervention Nutrition Study.

After an average of five years, 9.8 percent of the women on the low-fat diet had a recurrence of cancer. Meanwhile, 12.4 percent of the women on a standard diet had recurrences. That's a 24 percent reduction. Impressively, women with cancers that were not sensitive to estrogen--and who therefore are not candidates for drugs like tamoxifen--had their risk fall even more, by about 42%.

The only dietary adjustment these women made was to eat an average of 33.3 grams of fat per day, compared to the "average diet" which contained 51.3 grams of fat. That is a very modest dietary adjustment.

In his books, Dr. Fuhrman describes a diet that is low in fat, but otherwise very different from the diet these women were following. Dr. Fuhrman's recommendations for cancer patients include fresh squeezed vegetable juices, blended salads, and his cruciferous vegetable containing soups. His menus are designed to contain optimal levels of phytonutrients as they occur in nature. Phytonutrients have been shown in scientific studies to boost the immune system's ability to defend itself against a cancer and actually enable the body to stop the growth of cancer cells. His results with many cancer patients have been dramatic, and make clear that the marginal benefits of reducing fat intake is only the beginning of what diet can do to ward off cancer.

Diet-Sensitive Chronic Diseases are Top Global Killers

Shaoni Bhattacharya of the news service passes along news of a major new report of the World Health Organization, which says chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are causing far more deaths around the globe than all other causes combined.

By the end of 2005, twice as many people will have died from chronic diseases as from all infectious diseases, starvation and pregnancy and birth complications combined, international experts have warned.

The "neglected epidemic" of chronic disease will take 35 million lives in 2005, out of the total 58 million who will die globally. And contrary to popular belief, most of the deaths - 80% - from chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer will be in low to middle-income countries.

The two factors behind this epidemic are smoking and obesity, says Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, in a commentary accompanying four studies published on Wednesday. "These risks and the diseases they engender are not the exclusive preserve of rich nations."

If action is taken now, 36 million lives could be saved by 2015, says a major World Health Organization (WHO) report on chronic diseases also published on Wednesday.

If you poke around a bit, you'll see that Dr. Fuhrman has had a lot of success treating and preventing these exact same chronic diseases with a healthy diet. This "silent epidemic" is a terrible thing. The only good news: as the WHO acknowledges, we already have the knowledge we need to reverse the epidemic. It's just a question of spreading the word and putting what we know into practice.