Breast cancer survivors report

Our first report on breast cancer survivors is the most rigorous analysis of the scientific research currently available on breast cancer survivors.

Our first report on breast cancer survivors is the most rigorous analysis of the scientific research currently available on breast cancer survivors1.

Published in October 2014, the report specifically focuses on:

  • Female breast cancer survivors who are living with a diagnosis of cancer, including those who have recovered from the disease.
  • The link between diet, weight, physical activity and the likelihood of female breast cancer survivors dying from breast cancer or another disease.
  • The link between diet, weight, physical activity and the likelihood of female breast cancer survivors being diagnosed with a second primary breast cancer (i.e. a new cancer occurring in one of the breasts).

The research was analysed by a team at Imperial College London and then independently assessed by a panel of leading international scientists. The total number of women in the 85 studies reviewed was 164,416; from these 42,572 died over the duration of the study.

Key findings

The panel concluded that because of limitations in the research that exists, the evidence is not strong enough to make specific recommendations for breast cancer survivors. However, there are indications of links between better survival after breast cancer and:

  • A healthy body weight
  • Being physically active
  • Eating foods containing fibre
  • Eating foods containing soy
  • A lower intake of total fat and, in particular, saturated fat.

Further research is needed to investigate the reasons for these associations.

What does World Cancer Research Fund recommend?

Based on the evidence currently available, the best advice for breast cancer survivors, where clinically appropriate, is to follow our cancer prevention recommendations which include eating a healthy diet, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight.

Order or download our new Healthy Living After Cancer booklet from our eShop to share with patients affected by cancer.

Published in Spring 2015 issue

References

1. WCRF International, Continuous Update Project (CUP).