Roughly 42, 260 people succumb to breast cancer a year, making it the leading kind of cancer affecting women besides skin cancer (41,760 women versus 500 men). Thankfully if caught early, the survival rate is fairly high. Several inherited genes that increase one’s likelihood of developing the disease, most notably gene 1 (BRCA1) and gene 2 (BRCA2) have recently been identified, but ultimately the pathology begins with an imperfect cocktail of genetic and environmental factors, each receiving a new chapter to add to the ongoing oncological inquiry every few years.
A new study from the University of Buffalo and the University of Puerto Rico, for instance, posits a culinary consideration, in the form of garlic and onions; motioning more directly that habitually consuming them can potentially cut one’s risk of developing breast cancer by a startling 67%. From the report: “High onion and garlic consumption is protective against breast cancer in [the studied] population.”
Onion and Garlic Intake and Breast Cancer, a Case-Control Study in Puerto Rico
The new findings were published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer. The team of researchers behind the report began by observing hospital records of 314 women between the ages of 30 and 79 who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 2008 and 2014, alongside a control group comprised of 346 participants with no previous history of cancer apart from nonmelanoma skin cancer. These two groups were then matched according to age and residential area.
“We found that among Puerto Rican women, the combined intake of onion and garlic, as well as sofrito, was associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer,” explained study author, Gauri Desai.
The S-Allyl cysteine, diallyl disulfide, and diallyl sulfide in garlic and the Alk(en)yl cysteine sulfoxides found in onions have been studied to boast anticarcinogenic properties but on mass, the mechanisms behind the risk decrease have not been successfully determined. These agents have even been featured in previous studies regarding their risk decrease for developing lung cancer in the past, so the authors intend on furthering their own research in order to better identify the correlative relationship between flavonols and organosulfur and anticancer properties. In the meantime, the experts suggest a balanced diet that incorporates the two vegetables alongside a consistent exercise regimen.
“Being physically active helps you maintain a healthy body weight, which we know reduces the risk of cancer. Find an activity you enjoy and can stick to long term,” Kailey Proctor, MPH, RDN, who is an oncology dietitian, told Healthline.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.