Eating a high-fiber diet as a teen may help prevent breast cancer later
A new study finds that women who ate more fiber in their late teens and 20s had a much lower risk of breast cancer later.
A 20-year study of more than 90,000 women showed those who ate the most fiber while young had a 16 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those who ate the least and a 24 percent lower risk of having breast cancer before menopause, which tends to be a harder-to-treat form.
It might be because fiber tends to lower the hormone estrogen, which drives many types of breast cancer, the team reports in the journal Pediatrics.
"From many other studies we know that breast tissue is particularly influenced by carcinogens and anticarcinogens during childhood and adolescence," said Dr. Walter Willet, an expert on health and nutrition at Harvard's school of public health who led the study team.
"We now have evidence that what we feed our children during this period of life is also an important factor in future cancer risk."