Fat Increases Women’s Cancer Risk, Study Finds
Eating lots of saturated fat, long considered taboo for its link with heart disease, now appears to raise the risk of lung cancer in women, government researchers reported Monday.
The research, conducted by the National Cancer Institute, found that nonsmoking women with diets high in saturated fat--such as meat, butter and cheese--had about four times the usual risk of lung cancer.
Cigarette smoking is overwhelmingly the leading cause of lung cancer. However, about 15% of women who get the disease are nonsmokers.
Breathing secondhand smoke and exposure to natural radon gas are thought to account for at least some of these cases, but circumstantial evidence has suggested that diet also plays a role.
The study was based on a review of all the lung cancer cases reported in Missouri between 1986 and 1991. Researchers compared the eating habits of 600 nonsmoking women victims with those of a comparison group of 1,400 healthy women.
“Our study finds a strong increasing trend in lung cancer risk associated with increased saturated fat consumption among nonsmoking women,” said Dr. Michael Alavanja, who directed the study.