Starch Intake May Be Associated With Risk For Breast Cancer Recurrence

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Breast Cancer has always been the most common malignancy that threatens the lives of women all over the world. Many studies have been conducted to explore new treatments and new approaches for this disease. One of the concerns is to prevent recurrences. According to the research presented at the 2011 CTRC-AACR San Antoni Breast Cancer Symposium on December 6-10, 2011, starch intake is related to a higher risk for breast cancer.

Jennifer A. Emond, M.S., a public health doctoral student at the University of California, San Diego, cited that the findings reveal that it’s not generally carbohydrates, but starch specifically. Moreover, a subset analysis of 2, 651 women was performed. These women were participants of the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) Dietary Intervention Trial (a plant-based intervention that enrolled approximately 3,088 breast cancer survivors). The WHEL research team initiated an investigation of breast cancer recurrence and followed up the participants for an average of 7 years. In the subset analysis, they studied of how changes in carbohydrate intake could influence breast cancer recurrence.

Their team gathered the data of carbohydrate intake from various 24-hour dietary recalls at baseline and at 1 year. The participants shared in an annual phone interview all that they ate within the last 24 hours.

Furthermore, carbohydrate intake was 233 grams per day at baseline. It was revealed that those who had cancer recurrence had a mean increase in carbohydrate intake of 2.3 grams each day for the first year. On the other hand, those who did not experience recurrence had a 2.7 grams mean decrease for the first year.

Emond stated that starches were essential. She added that changes in starch intake led to 48% of the change in carbohydrate intake. Moreover, among those women whose cancer recurred, the mean change in starch intake was 0.1 grams/ day within the first year, against the 0.7grams/day of those whose cancer did not recur. Furthermore, when the starch intake changes within the one year were classified into quartiles of change, 9.7% was the rate of additional breast cancer event of the women who reduced starch the most in their diet during one year. In contrast, 14.2 % was the event rate for women who had higher starch intake during the year.

Emond expounded that the change in starch intake had been independent of dietary changes that occurred in the intervention arm. She added that it was independent of global changes in diet quality. The study team discovered that the elevated risk was concentrated on women with lower-grade tumors. Furthermore, the findings encourage more studies on dietary suggestions that deem limited starch intake for women suffering from breast cancer.





  1. Hi,

    Please check your numbers on the mean change in starch intake. Those are not correct. Also, Jennifer Emond is a she, not a he. Many thanks!

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