Can eating more broccoli cut breast cancer risk?

Can eating more broccoli cut breast cancer risk(1)
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Researchers from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo set out to determine whether or not cruciferous vegetables, particularly broccoli, are associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer incidence.

Their results, published in the May 2004 edition of The Journal of Nutrition, may come as welcome news to those attempting to lower their risk of breast cancer. It may also come as unwelcome news to those attempting to do so without having to eat more broccoli.

An inverse association between broccoli and breast cancer incidence?

The researchers found that, among their study subjects, those who ate the most cruciferous vegetables saw their odds of breast cancer incidence reduced by approximately 30 percent relative to those who ate the least.

Those who ate the most broccoli, specifically, saw their odds of breast cancer incidence decrease by approximately 40% relative to those who ate the least broccoli.

Importantly, these associations were found only among those studied who were premenopausal. The same associations did not hold true among those who were postmenopausal. Among that group, there was no significant difference based on how much broccoli was consumed. There was, however, a 20 percent odds decrease among those who ate the most cruciferous vegetables overall compared to those who ate the least.

What can we take from these results?

While these results are very encouraging, particularly for premenopausal women, we should be careful about drawing too broad of a conclusion for a couple reasons.

Although they did account for factors such as age, education, and standard breast cancer risk factors, those in the study who had breast cancer were all Caucasian women. Additionally, the control group members were all from Western New York. Neither of these represent a cross-section of the population.

While it is not certain the results would differ significantly if a broader cross-section of the population was studied, it is important to see how those of different races, background, socioeconomic status, etc. may fare.

Should you eat more broccoli to help prevent breast cancer?

While these results are encouraging and may be helpful, as with all studies that show reductions in risk, it is important to note that the reductions are not necessarily absolute, meaning broccoli may not be your one-stop-shop for keeping breast cancer at bay.

These results may, however, provide some guidance in creating a more holistic plan to provide the best health outcomes for you.

That is why you should talk to your licensed healthcare practitioner about these results and any changes you might be thinking of making to your diet, lifestyle, or treatment programs. The information presented here is presented for informational purposes only, so be sure to discuss these things with your licensed healthcare practitioner to determine what might work best for you in your circumstances.

And, as always, all the best to you on your pursuit of great!


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