Nutrition and breast cancer

Maturitas. 2014 Jan;77(1):7-11. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2013.10.004. Epub 2013 Oct 19.


Breast cancer incidence is rising worldwide with an increase in aggressive neoplasias in young women. Suspected factors responsible for the global increase include lifestyle changes, notably diet. Currently accepted risk factors directly linked to diet are greater body weight and alcohol consumption. Weight gain in adulthood is associated with increased risk of breast cancer in post-menopausal women, suggesting that weight gain before and around menopausal age may be determinant for breast cancer development among postmenopausal women. Numerous studies also show an impact of specific diets and nutrients - fatty acids, carbohydrates, vitamins B, D, carotenoids, phytoestrogens, fiber - on breast cancer risk, and evidence supports a mechanistic basis for an influence of specific nutrients. However, these studies are plagued with conflicting results. In this review, a new examination of the relationship between nutrition and breast cancer is proposed in light of recent epidemiological studies. Successful development of breast cancer prevention strategies will require identification of biological markers of dietary exposure, and to coordinate worldwide research to discern the effects of diet.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Epidemiology; Nutrition.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms* / etiology
  • Breast Neoplasms* / prevention & control
  • Diet* / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans