Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide, and the high incidence of this cancer coupled with improvements in initial treatments has led to an ever-increasing number of breast cancer survivors. Among the prospective epidemiological studies on diet and breast cancer incidence and recurrence, to date, there is no association that is strong, reproducible and statistically significant, with the exception of alcohol intake, overweight, and weight gain. Nevertheless, many beliefs about food and breast cancer persist in the absence of supporting scientific evidence. After a comprehensive review regarding the role of lifestyle on breast cancer outcomes and a thorough study of the dissemination field including mass media, clinical institutions, and academic figures, we briefly reported the most common presumptions and also facts from the literature regarding lifestyle, nutrition, and breast cancer. The randomised controlled trial is the best study-design that could provide direct evidence of a causal relationship; however, there are methodological difficulties in applying and maintaining a lifestyle intervention for a sufficient period; consequently, there is a lack of this type of study in the literature. Instead, it is possible to obtain indirect evidence from observational prospective studies. In this article, it becomes clear that for now the best advice for women's health is to follow the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute of Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) recommendations on diet, nutrition, physical activity, and weight management for cancer prevention, because they are associated with a lower risk of developing most types of cancer, including breast cancer. Despite current awareness of the role of nutrition in cancer outcomes, there is inadequate translation from research findings into clinical practice. We suggest the establishment of a multidisciplinary research consortium to demonstrate the real power of lifestyle interventions.
Keywords: body weight; breast cancer; cancer prevention; lifestyle; nutrition.