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Diets and breast cancer: What to do?


On April 20, 2022, I gave a class at the Brazilian Congress of Mastology on the importance of nutritional guidance in breast cancer. Although much is said in the media and on the internet about various diets and miracle foods, there is no scientific evidence to prove this information.

Breast cancer is the first among Brazilian women, except skin cancer, affecting about 66 thousand women per year. When discovered early, it is potentially curable, and currently, we have excellent treatments such as chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy. The nutritional part and regular physical activity complement this treatment.



Obesity, which affects about 30% of women in Brazil, is a significant risk factor for breast cancer. It worsens the response to treatment, causes more complications after surgery, has more side effects from chemotherapy, and increases the chance of recurrence and second cancer.

Alcohol consumption is also a risk factor; in women, it increases the probability of breast cancer in 2 ways: gene mutation and hormonal. Therefore, reducing the consumption of alcoholic beverages as much as possible is essential, even after treatment.

Studies show that adequate blood levels of vitamin D help prognosis and bone health for breast cancer patients. So dosing this vitamin at diagnosis and correcting deficiencies is essential. High doses of this vitamin are unnecessary or recommended, only restoring its serum level.

As for the proper diet, there is no secret; we must consume more fruits, vegetables, and vegetables, more wholegrain products, less salt, alcohol, and sugar, reduce the consumption of processed and ultra-processed foods as much as possible and limit the consumption of red meat to a maximum of 500 g in the week. There is no relationship between gluten consumption and lactose and breast cancer. Therefore, they should be removed from the diet only in cases of proven intolerance and allergies.

The regular practice of 150 to 450 min/week of physical activity, associated with a healthy diet, is fundamental in fighting and preventing breast cancer. Take your exams every year, because those looking for it FIND IT EARLY!


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