November 1, 2021

Breast cancer survivors: eat nuts

Breast cancer survivors who reported eating nuts regularly had 50% reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence, metastasis or mortality, Vanderbilt epidemiologists found in Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study.

Eating nuts has been linked to reduced death from all causes in the general population, but the impact of nut consumption on long-term breast cancer survivors has not been studied. 

Xiao-Ou Shu, MD, PhD, and colleagues examined the association of nut consumption (peanuts, walnuts and other nuts) with overall and disease-free survival in 3,449 five-year breast cancer survivors in the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study. 

They found that women who reported regular nut consumption in a dietary assessment five years after diagnosis had higher overall and disease-free survival rates compared to women who reported no nut consumption. The associations did not vary by type of nut but were more pronounced for disease-free survival and for women with early-stage (1 or 2) breast cancer. 

The study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, finds about 50% reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence, metastasis or mortality among women who eat nuts regularly, suggesting that the U.S. dietary guideline for nut consumption should be emphasized for breast cancer survivors.

This research was supported by the U.S. Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program, the National Institutes of Health (grant CA118229) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.