Q. "Breast cancer runs in my family. Are there any foods that I should be either eating or avoiding?"
Georgia, Bondi Junction, NSW
A. Associate Professor Tim Crowe says:
The diet and lifestyle advice for a woman with a family history of breast cancer is the same as the guidelines for anyone who wants to reduce their cancer risk. In short, these recommendations are as follows: maintain a healthy weight, stay physically active, quit smoking, eat lots of plant-based foods, limit red meat, avoid processed meat, and cut back on alcohol and salt (sodium).
A 2014 US study concluded that adopting many of these broad cancer-prevention guidelines can cut the risk of breast cancer by a third. If a woman meets just one of these guidelines, her breast-cancer risk will drop by approximately 5 per cent, according to experts, and this risk keeps falling for every extra guideline she meets.
The smartest minds in the field have developed cancer-prevention guidelines from the best available research. As a result, the best thing anyone can do to reduce their cancer risk, whether they have a family history of cancer or not, is to heed this advice, which will have a positive influence on their life.