A new prospective study has reported that consumption of trans fat and saturated fat both are associated with reduced breast cancer-specific survival. Trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils are found in many commercially prepared and processed foods, including French fries and doughnuts, baked goods and margarines.
Saturated fats are found primarily in meats and dairy foods (fatty beef, lamb, pork, poultry with skin, lard, whole milk, cream, butter, cheese) and baked and fried foods containing palm oil, palm kernel oil or coconut oil.
The study was designed to investigate the relationship between post-diagnosis diet and mortality. Not much is known about the effects of diet in breast cancer survivors. The study included 4,441 women with a history of invasive breast cancer diagnosed between 1987 and 1999 who had not experienced a recurrence. A 126-item food frequency questionnaire was used to assess diet. A total of 137 of the participants died from breast cancer during the first seven years after enrollment in the study. The analyses were adjusted for factors associated with breast cancer risk and prognosis at diagnosis, during the time period between diagnosis and diet assessment, and at follow-up.
Women in the highest fifth of consumption of trans fat were found to have 1.8 times the risk of dying from any cause compared to lowest fifth. Study participants in the highest fifth of consumption of saturated fat had 1.4 times the risk of dying as those in the lowest fifth. Both types of fat increase cholesterol and risk of heart disease and stroke. Results were similar for risk of dying specifically from breast cancer, however they did not reach statistical significance. The authors conclude that lower intake of trans fat and saturated fat after diagnosis of breast cancer is associated with improved survival.
Please see our article on how to optimize your breast cancer diet for information on what to eat during all stages of treatment and recovery.
Selected breast cancer studies
Nutrition and breast cancer among sporadic cases and gene mutation carriers: An overview
Bissonauth V, Shatenstein B, Ghadirian P. Nutrition and breast cancer among sporadic cases and gene mutation carriers: An overview. Cancer Detection and Prevention. Elsevier BV; 2008; 32:52-64 10.1016/j.cdp.2008.01.005
Association between Serum trans-Monounsaturated Fatty Acids and Breast Cancer Risk in the E3N-EPIC Study
Chajes V, Thiebaut ACM, Rotival M, Gauthier E, Maillard V, Boutron-Ruault M, et al. Association between Serum trans-Monounsaturated Fatty Acids and Breast Cancer Risk in the E3N-EPIC Study. American Journal of Epidemiology. Oxford University Press (OUP); 2008; 167:1312-1320 10.1093/aje/kwn069
Dietary animal-derived iron and fat intake and breast cancer risk in the Shanghai Breast Cancer Study
Kallianpur AR, Lee S, Gao Y, Lu W, Zheng Y, Ruan Z, et al. Dietary animal-derived iron and fat intake and breast cancer risk in the Shanghai Breast Cancer Study. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. Springer Science and Business Media LLC; 2007; 107:123-132 10.1007/s10549-007-9538-3
Dietary fat and breast cancer risk in the Swedish women's lifestyle and health cohort
Löf M, Sandin S, Lagiou P, Hilakivi-Clarke L, Trichopoulos D, Adami H, et al. Dietary fat and breast cancer risk in the Swedish women's lifestyle and health cohort. British Journal of Cancer. Springer Science and Business Media LLC; 2007; 97:1570-1576 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604033
Intake of conjugated linoleic acid, fat, and other fatty acids in relation to postmenopausal breast cancer: the Netherlands Cohort Study on Diet and Cancer
Voorrips LE, Brants HA, Kardinaal AF, Hiddink GJ, van den Brandt PA, Goldbohm RA. Intake of conjugated linoleic acid, fat, and other fatty acids in relation to postmenopausal breast cancer: the Netherlands Cohort Study on Diet and Cancer. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Oxford University Press (OUP); 2002; 76:873-882 10.1093/ajcn/76.4.873