What are some of the risk factors for breast cancer that you can do something about?

Light alcohol drinking, up to 1 drink per day, has been shown to significantly increase breast cancer and also some other cancers (Bagnardi V, et al. 2013). Heavy alcohol consumption, 3 or more drinks per day, is associated with an even higher risk of 40-50% (Seitz HK, et al. 2012). Alcohol increases estrogen levels and would be especially important to avoid for estrogen receptor positive breast cancer.

When insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) was investigated for associations with breast cancer using data from 17 studies, it was found that it was positively associated with breast cancer risk (Key TJ, et al. 2010).

IGF-1 is a growth factor and as such it stimulates tissue growth which is needed when we are young.  We don’t need the same tissue stimulation as we get older, that may lead to growth of tumors since it stimulate all tissue.

IGF-1 is also a factor involved in metastasis (Tang X, et al. 2010).

How can you reduce IGF-1?

You can do it by eating a plant based diet. Research has documented that a vegan diet effectively reduced IGF-1 when compared with meat eaters (Allen NE, et al. 2002). The vegan diet also increased IGF-1 binding protein which means that less of the IGF-1 was available to stimulate tissue growth.

The reason the vegan diet reduced IGF-1 is because protein from vegetable sources have a different amino acid profile than protein from animal sources.


Learn to Eat:  

Recommendations that work. This is not a regular diet program.

Allen NE1, Appleby PN, Davey GK, Kaaks R, Rinaldi S, Key TJ. The associations of diet with serum insulin-like growth factor I and its main binding proteins in 292 women meat-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2002 Nov;11(11):1441-8.
Bagnardi V1, Rota M, Botteri E, Tramacere I, Islami F, Fedirko V, Scotti L, Jenab M, Turati F, Pasquali E, Pelucchi C, Bellocco R, Negri E, Corrao G, Rehm J, Boffetta P, La Vecchia C. Light alcohol drinking and cancer: a meta-analysis. Ann Oncol. 2013 Feb;24(2):301-8. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mds337. Epub 2012 Aug 21.
Endogenous Hormones and Breast Cancer Collaborative Group, Key TJ, Appleby PN, Reeves GK, Roddam AW. Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), IGF binding protein 3 (IGFBP3), and breast cancer risk: pooled individual data analysis of 17 prospective studies. Lancet Oncol. 2010 Jun;11(6):530-42. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(10)70095-4. Epub 2010 May 14.
Seitz HK1, Pelucchi C, Bagnardi V, La Vecchia C. Epidemiology and pathophysiology of alcohol and breast cancer: Update 2012. Alcohol Alcohol. 2012 May-Jun;47(3):204-12. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/ags011. Epub 2012 Mar 29.
Tang X1, Zhang Q, Shi S, Yen Y, Li X, Zhang Y, Zhou K, Le AD. Bisphosphonates suppress insulin-like growth factor 1-induced angiogenesis via the HIF-1alpha/VEGF signaling pathways in human breast cancer cells. Int J Cancer. 2010 Jan 1;126(1):90-103. doi: 10.1002/ijc.24710.
  • Category: News
  • Author: Didrik Sopler
  • Published: 2020-03-28
  • Comments: 0
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