One of AICR’s Recommendations for Cancer Prevention is that mothers breastfeed their babies, with research showing that being breastfed can help reduce future cancer risk by helping the baby stay a healthy weight as an adult. Now a recent study suggests a new way in which breastfeeding may offer protection from cancer as well as other diseases, finding that young adults who were breastfed have a lower risk of chronic inflammation compared to those not breastfed.
There is a growing body of research suggesting inflammation increases the risk of many chronic diseases, including some cancers. Overweight and obesity, a risk factor for eight cancers, may produce a low level state of chronic inflammation.
Study authors used data from almost 7,000 participants who were part of national study on adolescent health. Twenty years ago, the participants were teenagers going to middle and high school. They, and many of their parents were interviewed. Then in 2007-2008, when the participants were 24–32 years old, their levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) were measured from a blood sample. CRP is a marker of inflammation. Read more… “Study: Being Breastfed Links to Lower Inflammation”
Today’s issue of Cancer Research Update highlights a new analysis of the research suggesting that obesity links to poorer survival for women diagnosed with breast cancer. The research adds to a complex and evolving field of research on lifestyle and survivorship.
The findings in this paper add to the body of knowledge, but they are not proof that weight loss in overweight or obese women will improve survival, says Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD, one of the authors of the new paper and a Continuous Update Project expert panelist.
Here, Dr. McTiernan — the Director of the Prevention Center at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center — talks about the study and what it means for breast cancer survivors.
Q: This study is the first to look at BMI pre- and post-diagnosis, and 12 months following diagnosis. Why was it important to look at these three points?
For both pre- and postmenopausal breast cancers, the many studies looking on whether dietary fat matters has resulted in no clear conclusions. Now comes a study from Italy suggesting that it does for certain types of breast tumors, including the most common type.
The study suggests that consuming high amounts of total fat, and saturated fats specifically, links to increased risk of breast tumors fueled by the hormones estrogen and progesterone. About three quarters of US breast tumors are estrogen-receptor positive (ER+). The majority of those also grow in response to progesterone.
The increased risk was most pronounced for high amounts of saturated fat, the type of fat from burgers, butter and primarily animal sources.