For many years now it has been recognised that there is a close link between foods and various types of cancer. However, in the case of breast cancer this correlation was far less clear.
Although suspicion has fallen heavily on certain types of food, no study has yet managed to demonstrate a genuine cause-and-effect relationship. At present, only excessive alcohol consumption has been shown to play a part.
Although nothing has been proven, we still believe that nutrition plays a role in the development of breast cancer. In the same way as environmental factors generally, according to Dr Marc Espié, senior lecturer and head of the breast disease centre at the Saint-Louis hospital in Paris.
Dr Espié has found significant evidence for this by studying Japanese women. Japan is known as being a low-risk country for breast cancer. Yet when Japanese women migrate to the United States, they take on the high risk profile of American women. And they do this within a single generation, which means that it can’t be explained by the genetic argument alone.
So should we look for an explanation in what we eat? It would seem so … since American food is fatty and high in sugar. Yet many studies conducted in the States have failed to produce any significant findings. But these studies only compare American women who, as we know, consume a fatty diet.
Dr Espié therefore advises following a Mediterranean style diet and avoiding putting on weight, especially after the menopause. As far as alcohol is concerned, excessive consumption has already been clearly shown to increase the risk of breast cancer