Wellness Wednesday - New Study Highlights That Cruciferous Vegetables May Boost Breast Cancer Survival Rates

Findings presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s 2012 Annual Meeting in Chicago (presented April 3) showed that consumption of increased amounts of cruciferous vegetables like bok choy, turnips, greens, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and broccoli was associated with improved breast cancer survivor rates. The research team led by Dr. Xiao Ou Shu, Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, collaborated with scientists at the Shanghai Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Shanghai Cancer Survival Study which monitored 4,886 breast cancer survivors from 2002-2008 showed that survivors who ate increased amounts of cruciferous vegetables within the first 36 months after diagnoses had a higher survival rate as compared to other breast cancer survivors.

“Risk for total mortality decreased by 27%, risk for breast cancer-specific mortality decreased by 22%, and risk for recurrence decreased by 21% ”, the researchers noted.

The dietary information of the breast cancer survivors was analyzed at 6 months, 18 months, and 36 months post-diagnoses.   The women ranged in age from 20 to 75 years of age with incident state 1 to IV breast cancer.

One of the researchers, Sarah J Nechuta MPH, PhD at Vanderbilt University said, “commonly consumed cruciferous vegetables in China include turnip, cabbage, bok choy, and greens, whereas broccoli and Brussels sprouts are the most commonly consumed cruciferous vegetables in the US and other Western countries”.

The protective effects of cruciferous vegetables has been observed in other settings; previous studies have shown that the intake of raw cruciferous vegetables including cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and broccoli sprouts was associated with reduced risk for bladder cancer, and preliminary research has demonstrated that broccoli sprouts can interfere with the development of gastritis and gastric cancer.