Dietary patterns, risk and prognosis of breast cancer

Cynthia A. Thomson, Patricia A. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Survival in women diagnosed with early-stage, invasive breast cancer has improved dramatically in the past 10-15 years. This is largely due to the use of pharmacological therapies targeting a reduction in estrogen action and exposure. Women diagnosed with breast cancer often alter their eating behavior towards healthier food choices in an attempt to improve their survival and their overall health and well being. Mounting interest in the role of diet to modify breast cancer survival and/or comorbidity and mortality has led researchers to evaluate the effects of differential dietary patterns on this disease. Current findings suggest a possible, but inconsistent, benefit of a prudent, vegetable-rich, low-fat/high-vegetable eating pattern on disease-free survival, but the results to date are limited by strong treatment effectiveness and low overall recurrence rates. It is more likely this prudent eating pattern will improve non-breast cancer mortality (e.g., cardiovascular disease) compared with a Western dietary pattern. Efforts to educate women diagnosed with breast cancer to consume a diet lower in total and saturated fat, higher in vegetables and fiber, and which results in mild to modest weight loss among overweight/obese women is sensible in light of the high survivability of breast cancer and need to direct attention to comorbidities that likely increase as a consequence of treatment and treatment-related weight gain and sedentary behavior. Additional research is needed to address the importance of diet in the breast cancer patient, particularly in relation to the effect of select dietary patterns on factors that influence individual recurrence risk (e.g., hormone levels, drug metabolism and oxidative stress), as well as factors that influence non-breast cancer morbidity risk and causes of death in the survivor population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1257-1269
Number of pages13
JournalFuture Oncology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2009


  • Breast cancer
  • Breast cancer survival
  • Diet
  • Dietary patterns
  • HEI
  • Healthy eating index
  • Prudent
  • Western

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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