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Study Indicates Eating Fruits and Vegetables Does Not Lower Breast Cancer RiskAired February 13, 2001 - 4:25 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Health news now. A new study indicates that women who do eat plenty of fruits and vegetables do not, as it turns out, lower their chances of developing breast cancer. The research published in "The Journal of the American Medical Association" tracked the diet and health of more than 350,000 women.
CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us now with more details on the study.
I think people will be really shocked to hear this, Elizabeth. I mean, people are eating fruits and vegetables thinking it's going to make a difference, particularly when so many people are worried about breast cancer.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. A doctor at the CDC said to me, you know what, I'm really disappointed, I had really hoped that this study would come out differently. But he also said that he wasn't surprised, because this isn't the first study to find that diet doesn't make a difference for breast cancer. It's also not the last study being done. There are a bunch of others in the works, and so we may be coming back at you a couple of months from now saying, you know what, diet really does seem to make a different.
But in the meantime, what's important is that a good indict, one full of fruits and vegetables and other plant projects, is so important for heart disease, for diabetes, for colon cancer that in a way it really doesn't matter, because you should be eating that diet anyhow.
Now, when it comes to preventing breast cancer, there are things that a woman can do. The most important is to have regular -- regular monthly breast self-examinations and regular mammograms, monthly breast self-examinations. And a woman should also reduce her alcohol intake. More than once glass of alcohol a day seems to increase the risk for breast cancer.
And what a woman can also do is maintain a healthy weight. Obesity seems to increase the risk for breast cancer.
And lastly, a woman can exercise. Women who exercise have a lower risk for breast cancer.
So most of these things are things that people should be doing anyhow for all sorts of diseases. So luckily, they are all the same practices.
Now also today, there was news about a drug called raloxifene or Evista. That's a drug that's already on the market for osteoporosis. The company that makes the drug found that in a four-year that it also dramatically decreased a postmenopausal woman's chances of getting breast cancer.
Now, this drug also has some bad side effects. So if a woman wants to take it to decrease her risk of getting breast cancer -- for example, if she has a very strong family history -- she needs to talk to her doctor, because there are reasons not to take it as well.
CHEN: All right. Thanks very much, Elizabeth Cohen, our medical correspondent with us with the latest report on breast cancer, your health.
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