Although breast cancer has been commonly attributed to hormones and genetics, the exact causes still remain unclear. A recent study featured on sheds a little light on this damaging disease, making prevention all the more possible.

Researchers from the University of California, Davis, have discovered a new factor that increases the risk of breast cancer, and it has something to do with what and how you eat. Senior author Russ Hovey explains, “Diet and shifts in body metabolism that parallel changes seen during obesity and Type 2 diabetes can stimulate breast growth entirely independent of estrogen’s effects.”

Observing the effect of diet shifts in mice, Hovey and his team were able to link the same changes in humans who suffer from obesity and Type 2 diabetes. They found that the increase of breast size due to weight gain and deviations from normal metabolic processes increase the risk of developing mammary tumors.

“The findings of this study are particularly important when we superimpose them on data showing that girls are experiencing breast development at earlier ages, coincident with a growing epidemic of childhood obesity,” says Hovey.

The study shows that no matter how young or old you are, it’s important to watch what you eat and to maintain appropriate body weight. You may not be able to control your hormones and genes, but you can do something about your diet and lifestyle. Take extra care of yourself; who knows when it may spell the difference between life and death?

(Photo by williami5 via Flickr Creative Commons)

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