© 2005-2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). All rights reserved worldwide.
May 16, 2005A phase III clinical trial from the Women's Intervention Nutrition Study (WINS) found for the first time that eating a lower-fat diet lowers the risk of recurrence (return of the cancer) in postmenopausal women with early stage breast cancer."This study may well represent the first lifestyle changeânamely, lowering dietary fatâthat can improve breast cancer outcome," said Rowan T. Chlebowski, MD, PhD, a medical oncologist at the Los Angeles Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and the study's lead author.In this study, doctors compared how often breast cancer returned (either near the original tumor, in the other breast, or in another part of the body) in 2,437 women with early stage breast cancer. All women received standard treatment for their breast cancer, depending on the stage and type of cancer.Of the women in the study, 1,462 ate a standard diet (containing an average of 51.3 grams of fat daily), and 975 women ate a low-fat diet (33.3 grams of fat daily) and received eight nutrition counseling sessions over 16 weeks, as well as ongoing counseling with a nutritionist every three months. After five years, 9.8% of the women on the low-fat diet had a recurrence of their breast cancer, compared with 12.4% of those eating the standard diet. In addition, women with breast cancer that does not respond to hormones on the low-fat diet had a 42% lower risk of recurrence than those on the standard diet.What this means for survivorsWhile more trials are needed to confirm these results, this study suggests that eating a low-fat diet can help postmenopausal women with early stage breast cancer reduce their risk of recurrence.