High fruit intake in one’s teenage years is linked with a lower risk of developing breast cancer in a study published in the BMJ while another linked research from the same journal has found an associated between alcohol consumption and a greater risk of breast cancer.
The team of researchers behind the first study intended to find out whether fruit and vegetables could be linked with breast cancer risk. They obtained their data from 90,000 nurses whom they followed for over 2 decades. The results show that consuming fruits in high amounts during adolescence (2.9 v 0.5 servings per day) led to a 25% lower breast cancer risk developed in middle age. The study also points out that apple, banana, and grapes are particularly beneficial in this regard when consumed in adolescence. Also, oranges and kale taken in early adulthood is also associated with a lower risk of the disease.
The authors explain that their findings support the current recommendation for cancer prevention to eat more fruits and vegetables. Their study particularly suggest that this would be more important to apply to teenage years.
However, this study does not provide confirmed links between the variables.
The second study was conducted by Danish scientists who set out to determine the effect of a shift in alcohol consumption on breast cancer and heart disease risks. Their data were generated from over 22,000 women from Denmark having hit menopause. The findings show that women who would increase their intake by two drinks daily over a period of five years had a 30% greater risk of breast cancer, but with a 20% lower risk of coronary heart disease, as opposed to women who drank a relatively constant amount of alcohol. On the other hand, those women who decreased their intake of alcohol during the same time period did not show any significant change in breast cancer or heart disease risks.
The authors conclude that alcohol is linked with breast cancer and coronary heart disease in opposing ways. Commenting on this double-edged-sword nature of alcohol, they say that the harm in alcohol might be greater than the perceived benefits. Furthermore, if one wishes to decrease the risk of heart disease, other healthier lifestyle changes can be considered.
This study does not constitute confirmed links either. Rather, both studies are observational ones that require more in-depth analysis and interpretation of the data.