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Can Eating Carbs Increase Breast Cancer Recurrence?

A new study shows what researchers have suspected for years: consuming carbohydratess dramatically increases your risk for a common type of breast cancer; one that is notoriously hard to treat.

A study published earlier this year in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, conducted by The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, revealed that postmenopausal women treated for breast cancer were two times more likely to have recurrence if their carbohydrate intake remained stable or increased after surgery.

These women were also 70 percent more likely to have a recurrence if their tumors tested positive for IGF1 (Insulin Growth Factor).

What was the study looking at?

Receptors for IGF1 have been found in breast cancer tumor tissue and can contribute to treatment resistance. The researchers at Dartmouth wanted to study if there was a correlation between diet and breast cancer prognosis based on the expression of the IGF1 receptor that is found in the tumor's tissue.

What did the study find?

The study looked at two factors -- carbohydrate intake and IGF1 receptor status -- to see whether or not insulin or insulin-like growth factors can impact breast cancer. Researchers found that a decreased carbohydrate intake was associated with decreased breast cancer recurrence (those with a diet rich in carbs had an increased risk).

What are some ways you can help lower your risk of developing breast cancer or having a recurrence?

If breast cancer runs in your family, or if you've already survived breast cancer, you may want to consider changing your eating habits to a low glycemic diet to help lower your risk.

Dr. Mike discusses the study in depth and covers other considerations of carb-rich diets for breast cancer survivors.