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A major new study from the federally funded Women's Health Initiative focusing on postmenopausal women is the first to prove that eating less fat and more fiber can lower your risk of dying from breast cancer.
While the results of observational studies — some of them involving hundreds of thousands of patients — have for years led doctors to suggest patients maintain their weight to prevent breast cancer or its recurrence, this study went beyond simply drawing conclusions based on what women reported they ate over time. Its significance lies in both the results and the fact that they are the first of their kind to come from a large randomized controlled trial, doctors say.
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"This study of nearly 50,000 postmenopausal women is the first in the field of breast cancer prevention to show the benefit of any such preventive strategy for reducing the risk of dying from breast cancer — and that's why it's so important,” says Neil Iyengar, a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He adds that the only other preventive measures shown to reduce breast cancer mortality rates are drugs such as tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors, which carry side effects that make many women hesitant to use them preventively.
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