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Western diet breast cancer risk for Asian women

Older Asian women living in the UK who eat a Western diet have higher odds of developing breast cancer than those who eat a traditional Asian diet, research shows.

A "Western" diet is rich in meats, bread, milk and deserts while a traditional "Asian" meal consists of vegetables, soy products and freshwater fish.

Scientists say this is the first time Western meals been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer in Asian women.

The team studied 1,459 women with breast cancer and 1,556 without from the Shanghai Breast Cancer Study.

Postmenopausal women who ate a high proportion of meats and deserts had double the risk of developing breast cancer than women who ate vegetables and soy.

"The issue (of diet) is of particular relevance to women in Asia, for whom breast cancer rates are traditionally low but increasing steadily in recent years," said study author Marilyn Tseng at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, USA.

"Low consumption of a Western dietary pattern plus successful weight control may protect against breast cancer in a traditionally low-risk Asian population that is poised to more broadly adopt foods characteristic of Western societies."

Fox Chase Cancer Center