Breast cancer: Common carbs can increase risk by 20%, study warns

Carbohydrates are the body’s key source of energy, but experts have warned that eating the nutrient can increase your risk of breast cancer by 20 percent.

According to Cancer Research UK, breast cancer is the most common type of illness in the country, accounting for 15 percent of all new cancer cases.

The disease can affect both men and women, but it is more common in females who are usually diagnosed over the age of 50.

The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age, if you have family history, you’re tall, overweight or obese, drink alcohol or have previously found a lump, warns the NHS.

Recent research has now shown that certain foods can increase the risk of the disease by around 20 percent.

Foods containing refined grains, such as white rice, flour, and bread, were found to increase the possibility.

Other products made with refined grains include crackers, desserts, cereals and pastries.

Potatoes were also found to be a problem, as well as sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juices.

The French medics explained that women who consumed an ‘unhealthy’ plant-based diet were at a higher risk.

The study explored the difference between healthy plant-based foods, such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes – compared to ‘unhealthy’ carbohydrates.

More than 65,000 postmenopausal women were tacked for over two decades, and medics found those with a healthier diet had a 14 percent lower risk of breast cancer.

Meanwhile, participants who ate ‘unhealthy’ plant-based options had a 20 percent increased risk of developing the disease, with findings consistent across all breast cancer subtypes.

Sanam Shah, a doctoral candidate in the Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health at Paris-Saclay University, said: “These findings highlight that increasing the consumption of healthy plant foods and decreasing the consumption of less healthy plant foods and animal foods might help prevent all types of breast cancer.”

Participants filled out dietary questionnaires for around 21 years, and over the course of the study 3,968 women were diagnosed with breast cancer.

The experts explained there were significant differences in cancer risk when comparing the two diets.

They added that a plant-based diet does not equate to a vegan or vegetarian diet, but describes a general emphasis on plant-based foods over animal-based foods.

This study suggests that cutting out some common carbohydrates could help prevent breast cancer.

However, Shah revealed further research is required to assess the link between diet and cancer risk in diverse populations, in particular to determine causality.

Symptoms of breast cancer
According to the NHS, the first noticeable symptom of breast cancer is usually a lump or area of thickened breast tissue.

Although most breast lumps are not cancerous, it is best to have them checked by a doctor.

The most common signs of breast cancer include:

A change in the size or shape of one or both breasts

Discharge from either of your nipples, which may be streaked with blood

A lump or swelling in either of your armpits

Dimpling on the skin of your breasts

A rash on or around your nipple

A change in appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast

Meanwhile, breast pain is usually not a symptom of breast cancer.

One in three women do not regularly check their breasts, while a fifth of these women say it is because they don’t know how to.

If you have experienced any of these symptoms, it is important to get them checked by your GP at the earliest opportunity – detecting the disease early can mean treatment is more effective.