Diet Matters

Monday, July 23, 2007

As a breast cancer survivor who knows how important healthy diets are in preventing recurrences, I am concerned that women will get the wrong message from the July 18 news story "Intensive Vegetable-Fruit Diet Shows No Effect on Breast Cancer Return."

Diet does matter when it comes to long-term survival.

Like a lot of stories, this article did not put the Women's Healthy Eating and Living Study in a larger context. It failed to mention that other reports have shown that a healthy diet does help reduce the risk of recurrence. In fact, a previous report from the same research group that was published last month in the Journal of Clinical Oncology showed that women who eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day and exercise regularly reduced their mortality nearly 50 percent. These astounding results should have been mentioned.

It would also have been good to remind readers that a vegetarian diet can help women prevent cancer in the first place. Large research studies have shown that vegetarians are about 40 percent less likely to develop cancer, compared to meat eaters.



The writer is a senior communications specialist with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which promotes healthy diets.

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