Reduced dietary fat intake may decrease breast cancer recurrence

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Breast Cancer and Dietary Fat

Reducing dietary fat intake may decrease the chance of a breast cancer recurrence in women who have been treated for early-stage breast cancer, according to a randomized, phase III trial in the December 20 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The relationship between dietary fat intake and breast cancer is unclear, both for primary breast cancer development and breast cancer recurrence. Rowan T. Chlebowski, M.D., Ph.D., of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at the Harbor-University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center in Torrance, Calif., and his colleagues set out to determine whether a low-fat diet could prolong relapse-free survival in women with early-stage breast cancer.

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Between February 1994 and January 2001, 2,437 women who had been treated for early-stage breast cancer were recruited from the Women's Intervention Nutrition Study (WINS). They were randomly assigned to a dietary intervention group (40%), or a control group (60%). The new study reports an analysis of all information collected as of October 31, 2003 with an average of 5 years of follow-up, when funding for the intervention ceased.

The goal of the dietary intervention was to reduce dietary fat to 15% of total calories. Women in the intervention group attended eight biweekly, 1-hour counseling sessions to learn about a low-fat eating plan, and they kept written records of their daily fat gram intake. Dieticians contacted or met with the women every 3 months, and participants could attend optional monthly dietary group sessions. Women in the control group met with a dietician when they started the trial and were contacted by dieticians every 3 months.

At the beginning of the study, both groups consumed similar amounts of calories from fat

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