Investigators from several research institutions in China announced this week that women who eat more fiber may be less likely to get breast cancer.
Chinese researchers report that women who ate the most healthy fiber-rich foods are 11 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than women who ate the least.
Jia-Yi Dong, Ka He, Peiyu Wang, and Li-Qiang Qin were the lead researchers in the study conducted in China. Their new findings are published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
“We identified 10 prospective group studies of dietary fiber intake and risk of breast cancer involving 16,848 cases and 712,195 participants,” said He.
“The association between dietary fiber intake and risk of breast cancer did not significantly differ by geographic region, length of follow-up, or menopausal status of the participants.”
About 39,520 women will die from breast cancer in America this year, according to the American Cancer Society.
Researchers confirmed that 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women. The chance that breast cancer will be responsible for a woman's death is about 1 in 35, the ACS said.
The Chinese researchers did say that their new discovery does not prove that fiber by itself lowers cancer risk, however, because women who consume a lot of it might be healthier overall than those who don't.
However, dietary fiber also plays a role to improve the immune system and therefore produces a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.
Fiber benefits also include lower cholesterol and weight loss. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and a variety of beans are all high in fiber.
Most Americans don't get enough fiber in their daily diets, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Institute of Medicine recommends dietary fiber intake for adults aged 50 and younger of 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women, and for men and women older than 50, an intake of 30 and 21 grams, respectively. But Americans are falling seriously short of the recommended goal, with an average intake of about 15 grams per day.
“Increasing dietary fiber intake in the general public is of great public health significance,” the Chinese research team said.
Leaders from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Union for International Cancer Control, and the American Cancer Society are beginning a new comprehensive effort this year to respond to the cancer epidemic spreading across the globe.
“Each year, an estimated 7.6 million people die from cancer – more than from HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined,” said Dr.Allen S. Lichter of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
“It is estimated that the incidence of cancer will continue to increase during the next decade, from 12.7 million annual cases in 2008 to more than 20 million by 2030.”
In September, world leaders will convene in New York for a U.N. summit, which will focus on the global threat of cancer
For more information and to sign a World Cancer Declaration, visit: http://www.uicc.org/declaration.