News / Health

Early Life Diet May Contribute to Breast Cancer

Sample of a healthy diet
Sample of a healthy diet
Jessica Berman
Researchers have found evidence that a young girl's diet could affect her risk of developing breast cancer later in life.
 
The evidence linking a woman's breast cancer risk to her diet as a youth comes from mouse studies at the University of California Davis.  Lead researcher Russ Hovey says investigators worked with female rodents whose estrogen production had been blocked.  The female reproductive hormone is responsible for the development of sexual characteristics, including breast growth.  Circulating estrogen from the ovaries has also been implicated in breast tumors. But the hormone's influence was eliminated in the subject mice.

The mice were then fed a calorie-rich diet containing a fatty acid known as 10, 12 CLA. It led to a pre-diabetic state called metabolic syndrome, marked by rising blood sugar levels, weight gain, elevated cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
 
The fatty diet also stimulated breast growth in some mice, even though they lacked estrogen, according to Hovey. “What we’ve shown is that when we fed a diet that was supplemented with this particular type of fat, it then led to metabolic changes.  But the thing that surprised us most was in fact that the breasts developed in these mice even though they had no ovaries and even though we used other methods to remove estrogen from their system,” he said.

The researchers found that the diet-induced breast growth also resulted in the development of tumors in some of the mice.  

Hovey says not all of the mice fed the fatty diet developed tumors - suggesting that there may also be a genetic component contributing to breast cancer.

The take-home message, according to Hovey, is that the diets of young girls should be monitored to reduce the kinds of fats that can trigger cancer and other diseases.

“Like obesity for example, [or] Type 2 diabetes, [and] that might also be able to substitute or stimulate breast development, independent of estrogen,” explained Hover.

As Type 2 diabetes becomes more common around the world, the study’s findings suggest an epidemic of breast cancer might not be far behind.

An article on diet and breast tumor development is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid