The habit teenage girls should AVOID to reduce breast cancer risk

The habit teenage girls should AVOID to reduce the risk of breast cancer later in life

  • Scientists completed a mouse study to look at impact of fast foods on girls 
  • Unhealthy food contains proteins that led to abnormal breast cells in rodents
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A preference for burgers, fries, and shakes in teenage girls may sow the seeds of breast cancer later in life.

A diet high in sugar, carbohydrates and processed meats and foods is known to drive up inflammation levels in the body, which increases anyone’s risk of cancer and heart disease.

Now, a study has shown it can be particularly damaging for teenage girls to indulge in such a diet when they are going through puberty and their breasts are developing.

Scientists from the Medical University of South Carolina found fast and junk food contains high concentrations of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), which can cause changes in breasts similar to those seen in breast cancer patients, such as an increased breast density.

More than 264,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. It is the most common cancer in women in America, with more than 43,000 dying of the condition annually

Adolescence is when most breast growth occurs. Dr Steven Quay, a Seattle-based physician-scientist who was not involved in the study, said the ‘environmental assaults during that vulnerable time can seed changes that take decades to complete.’

The rodent study, published in the journal Breast Cancer Research, saw scientists produce AGE products by cooking glucose-based rodent food at 248 degrees Fahrenheit (120 degrees Celsius) for 15 minutes.

This stimulated the formation of a wide spectrum of AGEs typically found in fried or grilled foods. 

AGEs are harmful compounds formed when protein or fat combines with sugar in the bloodstream.

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Mice who were going through puberty were split into three groups: a control group fed a regular mouse diet, a low AGE diet group and a high AGE diet group.

As for the effect on the structure of the breasts in the mice, the high AGE diet led to changes in mammary tissue, which are similar to the changes seen in patients with very early stage breast cancer.

This included a change, which in humans, is seen through increased breast density. 

In humans, increased breast density can only be identified using a mammogram.

Only the mice in the high AGE diet produced abnormal breast cells. 

Scientists are still not entirely sure why dense breast tissue is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.

It is thought dense breast tissue has more cells that have the potential to develop into abnormal cells, and in women, abnormal breast cells increase the risk of breast cancer.

The study does not prove a causal link between foods high in AGEs and breast cancer, but shows that eating lots of processed, fast-food may increase the likelihood of developing dense breast tissue, which increases future breast cancer risk.

Dr Quay called for guidelines to be developed to recommend a diet low in processed food consumption for adolescent girls in order to reduce the risk of future breast cancer.

There are a lot of other reasons someone may be diagnosed with breast cancer, including genetic factors. 

Men can also get breast cancer, though the research did not look at high-age diets and breast cancer risk in men.

More than 264,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. It is the most common cancer in women in America, with more than 43,000 dying of the condition annually.

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