Health

Starch intake linked to breast cancer risk

A new study says increased carbohydrate intake is associated with a higher rate of breast cancer recurrence in survivors of the disease.

A new study says increased carbohydrate intake is associated with a higher rate of breast cancer recurrence in survivors of the disease.

Starches were particularly important in the findings, according to Jennifer Emond, the study's team leader and a public health doctoral student at the University of California, San Diego.

"Women who increased their starch intake over one year were at a much likelier risk for recurring," she said.

The researchers investigated the effect of carbohydrate intake on breast cancer recurrence in 2,651 women diagnosed with breast cancer within the previous four years.

She and her colleagues obtained carbohydrate intake information from multiple 24-hour dietary recalls at baseline and at one year. In an annual phone interview, participants reported everything they had eaten during the last 24 hours.

At baseline, carbohydrate intake was 233 grams per day. Results showed that women whose cancer recurred had a mean increase in carbohydrate intake of 2.3 grams per day during the first year, while women whose cancer did not recur reported a mean decrease of 2.7 grams per day during the first year.

Changes in starch intake accounted for 48 per cent of the change in carbohydrate intake. Mean change in starch intake during the first year was –4.1 grams per day among women whose cancer recurred versus –8.7 grams per day among women whose cancer did not recur.

The increased risk of recurrence was limited to women with lower-grade tumors, the researchers said.

The results were presented at the five-day San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, which ends Saturday.

The American Association for Cancer Research has urged additional research before any new dietary recommendations are made for women with breast cancer.

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