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A Fatty Diet May Increase Risk of Breast Cancer in Some Women

A new study suggests that a diet high in fat may be linked to breast cancer risk.

A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute highlighted the importance of eating a healthy diet. The report is a reanalysis of a previous study and suggests that a link exists between a diet rich in fat, particularly saturated fat, and an increased risk of breast cancer. However, researchers note that the correlation may only be found in certain types of breast cancer. Additionally, the study could not indisputably prove that a fatty diet caused breast cancer, only that the two existed together.

"In our study we confirm that saturated fat intake was positively associated with breast cancer risk," Sabina Sieri, head researcher for the Fondazione IRCCS National Cancer Institute in Milan and lead author of the study, told Reuters Health. "Saturated fatty acids intake should be as low as possible within the context of a nutritionally adequate diet."

The study used data of approximately 337,000 women from 10 European countries that was collected from lifestyle surveys. The women were also studied for 11 to 12 years. In that time, about 10,000 were diagnosed with breast cancer.

Researchers noted that the link may occur because saturated fat increases the amount of the body's sex hormones. Estrogen and progesterone are related to hormone receptor-positive cancers, which make up a majority of breast cancer diagnoses. While researchers still debate the findings, all agree that eating a diet low in saturated fat (which found in animal products) is good for health.  

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