Mediterranean Dietary Lifestyle May Prevent Breast Cancer
Dr. Miguel Á. Martínez-González, MD, from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III in Madrid, and colleagues reported that breast cancer may be prevented by adopting a Mediterranean diet lifestyle that is known to be protective against cardiovascular diseases. The Mediterranean diet consists of olive oil, fish, and plant foods. Many studies have proven that the Mediterranean diet is more cardioprotective as compared to a low-fat diet.
The research team described that Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil based diet showed remarkable benefits in breast cancer primary prevention. They explained that this study is the first study to demonstrate the long-term effect of dietary intervention on the incidence of breast cancer. The study was conducted on 4,282 women who were postmenopausal. Out of the 4,282 women, only 35 were diagnosed with breast cancer. The average follow-up period was about 5 years for this study. The breast cancer rates were 2.9 per 1000 person-years in the low-fat diet group, 1.8 per 1000 person-years in the nuts supplement group, and 1.1 per 1000 person-years in the extra-virgin olive oil group. In comparison with the low-fat diet group, invasive breast cancer risk was lower by 62% in the extra-virgin olive oil group. Those in the nuts supplement group also had lower risks of breast cancer. However, their risk reduction was not significant statistically.
The research team explained that despite the small number of breast cancer cases observed, the study result is still significant statistically. They added that this study is the first study to study the benefits of Mediterranean diet on breast carcinoma. Dr. Mitchell Katz, MD, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, uninvolved in this study was simply stunned with the idea of a randomized clinical trial on dietary intervention in breast carcinoma. He added that the study was of certain quality. Both Dr. Katz and the research team were aware that the study had a few limitations such as all the women must be at a certain cardiovascular disease risk level for selection, they were all postmenopausal and white, and mammography was not used in the screening of breast cancer in all the women.