A colourful Mediterranean Diet can reduce the risk of post-menopausal breast cancer by 40 per cent. It was particularly effective at reducing breast cancers that were not estrogen-responsive (ER-). This is highly significant as Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) has become increasingly prevalent, accounting for up to a third of all new breast cancer diagnoses. Worse, no drugs are available that specifically target the disease.
The research was conducted by Professor Piet van den Brandt who led a Maastricht University team for the World Cancer Research Fund and was a large study of post-menopausal women – 62,573 women between the ages of 55 and 69 were followed for 20 years and their diets closely recorded.
Those who adhered most closely to the colourful Mediterranean diet had significantly lower levels of breast cancer.
Van den Brandt said, “We found a strong link between the Mediterranean Diet and reduced estrogen-receptor negative breast cancer risk among postmenopausal women, even in a non-Mediterranean population. This type of breast cancer usually has a worse prognosis than other types of breast cancer”.
Although the research targeted post-menopausal breast cancer, TNBC is growing rapidly in younger women. 40 per cent of breast cancer is now diagnosed in women under 60 years of age and about 15 per cent of that is TNBC. Often linked to a BRCA mutation, women thus have to take much more care to eat a good diet, avoid environmental toxins and have a healthy lifestyle. The researchers talked of the Mediterranean Diet ‘slashing risk’.
For other foods that can help fight TNBC,