While studies have not linked specific diets to breast cancer risk, nutrition is still important.

  • Eat a well-balanced diet (daily intake of fat should not exceed 30%)
  • Include fresh fruit and vegetables in your daily food choices
  • Eat the right amount to maintain a healthy weight
  • Limit consumption of red meat and processed meats
  • Reduce carbohydrate intake
  • Avoid food and drinks high in sugar content
  • Avoid Alcohol; if you drink alcohol intake should be limited to not more than one drink per day (i.e., 10 grams or less per day. A glass of beer, wine or spirits corresponds to 8-10 grams of ethanol). Meta analyses show that breast cancer risk increases by around 7-12% per unit of alcohol per day.1,2,3 Light drinkers, up to one alcoholic drink per day (which corresponds to 12 grams or 15 ml of pure alcohol) have a 5% higher breast cancer risk compared with non drinkers.4

More Research on Nutrition

“Nutrition and physical activity influence on breast cancer incidence and outcome”
Chlebowski RT
The Breast (2013); Vol 22 Suppl 2:S30-37

Dietary intake may influence breast cancer but influence is difficult to separate from influence of body weight. Read More…

“Adherence to the Mediterranean diet and risk of breast cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort study”
Buckland G, Travier N, Cottet V, González CA, et al
Int. J. Cancer (2013), 132: 2918–2927

This study found that diet reduced the risk of breast cancer by 6% overall, and by 7% in postmenopausal women. For tumors lacking the estrogen or progesterone receptors, however, the diet reduced risk by 20% in postmenopausal women. Read More…

“Spanish Mediterranean diet and other dietary patterns and breast cancer risk: case–control EpiGEICAM study”
A Castelló, M Pollán, B Buijsse, A Ruiz et al.
British Journal of Cancer (2014) 111, 1454–1462

Our results confirm the harmful effect of a Western diet on BC risk, and add new evidence on the benefits of a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, oily fish and vegetable oils for preventing all BC subtypes, and particularly triple-negative tumours. Read More…

“Dietary Fat Intake and Development of Specific Breast Cancer Subtypes”
S. Sieri, P. Chiodini, C. Agnoli et al
JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst (2014) 106 (5)

The results of this prospective study on a large heterogeneous population of European women indicate that a high-fat diet increases BC risk and, most conspicuously, that high saturated fat intake increases risk of receptor-positive disease, suggesting saturated fat involvement in the etiology of receptor-positive BC. Read More…

“Dietary protein sources in early adulthood and breast cancer incidence: prospective cohort study”
Farvid MS, Cho E, Chen WY, Eliassen AH, Willett WC
BMJ 2014;348 :g3437

Higher red meat intake in early adulthood may be a risk factor for breast cancer, and replacing red meat with a combination of legumes, poultry, nuts and fish may reduce the risk of breast cancer. Read More…

“Adolescent meat intake and breast cancer risk”
Farvid MS, Cho E, Chen WY, Eliassen AH, Willett WC
International Journal of Cancer Volume 136, Issue 8, pages 1909–1920, 15 April 2015

Higher consumption of red meat during adolescence was associated with premenopausal breast cancer. Substituting other dietary protein sources for red meat in adolescent diet may decrease premenopausal breast cancer risk.
Read More…

“Nutrition and breast cancer”
Chajès V, Romieu I- IARC
Maturitas (2013), Volume 77 , Issue 1 , 7 – 11

Carbohydrates and carbohydrate quality could influence breast cancer risk potentially by affecting insulin resistance and plasma levels of insulin and glucose. In the EPIC study, high carbohydrate and glycemic load (a global indicator of the glucose response and insulin demand induced by a serving of food) in the diet were significantly related to an increase in ER− and ER−/PR− breast cancer among post-menopausal women. Read More…

“Higher dietary folate intake reduces the breast cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis”
P Chen, C Li, X Li , J Li , R Chu and H Wang
British Journal of Cancer (2014) 110, 2327–2338

Our studies suggested that folate may have preventive effects against breast cancer risk, especially for those with higher alcohol consumption level; however, the dose and timing are critical and more studies are warranted to further elucidate the questions. Read More…

  1. Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer. Alcohol, tobacco and breast cancer - collaborative reanalysis of individual data from 53 epidemiological studies, including 58 515 women with breast cancer and 95 067 women without the disease. Br J Cancer 2002;87(11):1234-45.
  2. Allen NE, Beral V, Casabonne D, et al. Moderate Alcohol Intake and Cancer Incidence in Women. J Natl Cancer Inst 2009;101(5):296-305.
  3. Key J, Hodgson S, Omar R, et al. Meta- analysis of Studies of Alcohol and Breast Cancer with Consideration of the Methodological Issues. Cancer Cause Control 2006;17(6):759-70
  4. Bagnardi V, Rota M, Botteri E, et al. Light alcohol drinking and cancer: a meta-analysis. Ann Oncol2012;24(2):301- 8. 2008