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Breast Cancer

Grapefruit linked with breast cancer

10/26/2007

Question:

I saw in TV news couple weeks ago that eating a quarter of grape fruit a day increases the chance of getting breast cancer by 30%. My elder sister was diagnosed with breast cancer 4 yrs ago and had a mastectomy. I have 2 trees of grapefruit in our backyard and for years have eaten 1 or 2 grapefruits everyday for at least 3 months each year. The news is from the British Journal of Cancer. Now I an scared and stopped eating grapefuits. Can you confirm this news? thank you

Answer:

You have asked a very interesting question. This was a single epidemiology study that linked grapefruit and grapefruit juice consumption with a higher risk of estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer, likely because of the interaction of grapefruit and estrogen metabolism. However, it is not yet clear if we can make broad statements about these results and apply them to the rest of the population.

If you are concerned, then you can limit or stop your intake until there is more clear data and further clinical recommendations are offered... How much benefit this will give to you is uncertain, given that you've already eaten them for 10 years.

It's hard to interpret single studies that are based on diet/intake reports and come up with broad, blanket statements.

For more information:

Go to the Breast Cancer health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Jennifer B Manders, MD Jennifer B Manders, MD
Formerly:
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati