A new study shows promising results.

There is no question that breast cancer can be a frightening diagnosis. It’s complicated even more by the fact that many of the risk factors for breast cancer – age, sex, genetic mutations, family history, etc. – are completely outside of our control. However, it’s important to remember that there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of getting breast cancer, and a new study published in the International Journal of Cancer points to an interesting and non-intuitive action you can take: increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat every day.

What the Study Says

The results are staggering: this new study found that women who routinely ate at least 5.5 servings of vegetables and fruits had a risk of breast cancer that was 11 percent lower than those who ate 2.5 or fewer servings a day. Even those women who did go on to develop breast cancer often developed tumors that were easier to treat. The study followed about 182,000 women for about 24 years on average, which is what enabled the researchers to see the trends and make the connections.

To learn more about this study, click here to read an overview from the American Institute for Cancer Research.

What This Means for You

It’s important to keep in mind that the study did not document results from dietary changes that happened overnight. The researchers found that women had to start eating right as many as 8-12 years before their diagnosis to see an effect on the type of tumor they had. The takeaway is simple: start adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet now!

Plus, getting 5.5 servings of fruits or vegetables could be easier than you think. The study defined a single serving as ½ cup of chopped or cooked fruit, 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables, or ½ cup of raw or cooked vegetables. To put this in perspective, a large banana is equal to about 1 cup of raw fruit. A typical cereal bowl (which you would use to hold salad or chopped fruit) holds about 2 cups. So, if you were to chop up a banana and put it over your cereal for breakfast, enjoy a bowl of fresh salad for lunch, snack on a small apple in the afternoon, and have a cup of cooked vegetables as the side for your dinner, you’d have about 6 servings of fruits and vegetables in the course of the day.

Remember, We’re Here to Help

Even as you add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, remember that breast cancer is in many ways outside of all of our control. Should you ever receive a diagnosis, the folks here at Salib Oncology are always here to help. We offer cutting-edge cancer therapy to improve your chances to survive and thrive well into the future. Give us a call if you ever need us.

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