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Breast Cancer Risk Reduction With Dietary Mushrooms

Posted May 21 2010 6:54am
Mushrooms have long been reported to have potential anti-cancer benefits; however, the vast majority of the studies exploring the cancer fighting benefits of mushrooms have been cell culture and animal studies designed to test specific mushroom extracts.  Few studies of dietary consumption of whole mushrooms have been done, but those that have been conducted suggest that adding mushrooms to one's diet can reduce breast cancer risk.

A new Korean breast cancer study confirms and expands upon previous research on the cancer fighting properties of mushrooms.  In this new study, breast cancer researchers assessed dietary consumption of mushrooms in 358 breast cancer patients and 360 cancer-free control volunteers using a food frequency questionnaire.  Analysis of associations between mushroom consumption and breast cancer risk, breast cancer receptor status, and menopausal status showed
  • Women in the highest quarter of mushroom consumption had about a 60% reduction in breast cancer risk overall.
  • When examined based on menopausal status, the cancer fighting benefits of mushroom consumption were only observed in premenopuasal women, not in postmenopausal women.
  • Dietary intake of mushrooms was associated with a reduction in hormone receptor (estrogen and progesterone) positive breast cancer, but not with a reduction in hormone negative breast cancer.
Overall, the results of this study suggest that adding mushrooms to one's diet might reduce the risk of hormone receptor positive breast cancer in premenopausal women.  While this study confirms the benefits of dietary mushrooms for breast health, previous studies have shown slightly different benefits.  A previous study of Korean women indicated that dietary mushroom intake might reduce breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women, but not premenopausal women.   In contrast to these two studies, a breast cancer study in Chinese women reported that consuming mushrooms on a regular basis reduced breast cancer risk in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women.  The differences in results from these studies could be due to many factors, but the overall message suggests that adding mushrooms to one's diet might help reduce breast cancer risk.  All three of these studies, which are free to download, reported that cancer fighting benefits were observed with consumption of at least 10-15 grams of mushrooms per day.  The most common mushrooms consumed were the oyster mushroom, the white button mushroom, the oak mushroom, and the winter fungus. 

Not everyone is a fan of mushrooms.  In fact most people I know either really love mushrooms or absolutely dislike them; count me as a fan.  Read my book Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer to learn about some of my other favorite cancer fighting foods.
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