Friday, January 14, 2005

Anorexia and Breast Cancer

BrooklynDodger knows there's nothing funny about breast cancer. However, emphasis on lifestyle factors which increase cancer risk can produce ironic results. A recent study reached an expected result that anorexia, as a proxy for severe calorie restriction, was very protective. The investigators studied over 7000 Swedish women hospitalized for anorexia nervosa prior to age 40 years. Compared with the Swedish general population, women hospitalized for anorexia nervosa prior to age 40 years had a 53% lower incidence of breast cancer. Anorexic women who had borne children had a 76% lower incidence. Independently, we know that early childbirth confers protection against breast cancer. Therefore, the lifestyle advice for gaining major protection against breast cancer is anorexia followed by a teenage pregnancy.

JAMA. 2004 Mar 10;291(10):1226-30.

Caloric restriction and incidence of breast cancer.

Michels KB, Ekbom A.Obstetrics and Gynecology Epidemiology Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass 02115, USA.

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