, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 119-132

Diet and Breast Cancer: Can Dietary Factors Influence Survival?

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Abstract

Breast cancer accounts for over one third of invasive cancers in women. Earlier detection and improved initial treatments have resulted in an increasing number of women who have completed standard treatments but who remain at risk for breast cancer recurrence or early death. Epidemiological studies have linked diet composition with prognosis, and many women attempt to modify their diets and improve nutritional status following diagnosis. The hypothesis that dietary factors may reduce risk for secondary cancer events and increase survival in this population is currently under study in two large randomized clinical trials: the Women's Intervention Nutrition Study (WINS) and the Women's Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) Study. The WHEL Study is testing the effect of a diet high in vegetables, fruit, and fiber, and low in fat, on disease-free survival in women with early stage breast cancer. Hypothesized mechanisms include effects of diet modification on gonadal hormones, retinoid-like activities of carotenoids, and other protective effects of biologically active dietary constituents.