Best of Breast: news for week ending 4 October 2013

A round-up of the latest medical developments in breast cancer from Google Alerts, for the week ending 4 October 2013.

[Google Alerts doesn’t always have the most up-to-date research developments, and is heavy on the first-person stories, Angelina Jolie, fund-raising and charity events, so if I’ve missed something out, my apologies. You are always welcome to post any new developments that I’ve missed out in the comments box and I’ll include them in the compilation, with grateful thanks and an acknowledgement.]

photo credit:

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1.  Teenage girls who eat peanut butter twice a week ‘reduce their risk of breast cancer by 39%’

  • Nine to 15-year-olds who eat peanut butter twice a week are much less likely to develop benign breast disease by the age of 30
  • Some benign breast diseases increase risk of breast cancer later in life
  • The findings also suggest beans, lentils, soybeans and corn also help prevent benign breast disease

Why peanut butter, I asked myself? I’d been told to avoid peanuts because of the alleged levels of aflatoxin, a natural toxin produced by certain strains of a mold.  Aflatoxin is a potent carcinogen, known to cause liver cancer in laboratory animals. The jury is still out regarding the danger of long-term exposure of low levels of aflatoxins.  In countries where peanuts are a staple food, it may contribute to liver cancer.  According to Dr Andrew Weil, commercial peanut butter (in the US) is generally safe:

I suppose peanut butter is ubiquitous so it was easy to run the study on a staple food, rather than, say almond butter or cashew butter.  Peanuts are not really nuts, they are a legume.  if you have to eat a nut butter, go for almond butter which has a better fatty acid profile.  And if you have to eat peanut butter, make sure it doesn’t contain any hydrogenated vegetable oil and is low in sugar.

[Note:  aflatoxin imay also occur in maize, rice, figs and other dried foods, spices and crude vegetable oils, and cocoa beans – it’s a minefield!]

2.  Walking an hour a day can cut risk of breast cancer: Brisk stroll can reduce chance in over-50s by 14%

  • Women who do more vigorous activities get almost double protection
  • Scientists claim this is the first study to examine walking benefits
  • It is thought to cut down the body fat that nurtures cancer hormones

3.  New breast cancer imaging technique could cut down on false positives

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