Breast cancer advice ‘misleading’ claims scientist

| Post published on September 2, 2011
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WOMEN who want to cut their risk of developing breast cancer should reduce the amount of meat they eat and cut down – or even cut out – dairy produce, according to a leading scientist.

Professor Jane Plant, CBE DSc FRSM, says: “Officialdom is ignoring research that shows hormone-related cancers are fuelled by diets that give rise to high levels of steroid hormones such as oestrogen, and growth factors such as IGF-1, EGF and VEGF.

“That is exactly what our Western diets do, with their high levels of animal fats and protein.”

“To make matters worse, modern industrially produced milk contains far higher levels of oestrogen than used to be the case because cows are milked while pregnant, when natural oestrogen levels are increased. So milk and milk products may present a real risk for some women.

“Recent advice is at best partial – and at worst misleading,” Professor Plant said.

Breast cancer is far less common in countries like China and Japan, according to the World Health Organisation.

A recent study carried out by experts from Oxford, Cornell and Beijing universities showed the difference is down to diet. There is no significant difference in the amount of alcohol women drink, and the amount of protein in the diet. But in China, most protein comes from vegetable sources, not animal. Chinese and Japanese women who live in the West and eat a Western diet are just as likely to develop the disease.

Professor Plant, author of the books Your Life in Your Hands and The Plant Programme has experienced breast cancer herself. She was speaking after reports that the lifetime risk of breast cancer in the UK has risen to 1 in 8.

Professor Plant has recently become a patron of leading health charity, the Vegetarian &; Vegan Foundation (VVF), set up to monitor and explain the increasing amount of scientific research linking diet to health. She has worked closely with the VVF on the publication of a number of materials related to diet and health.

She says: “I am honoured to be a patron of the VVF, a charity whose core work is very close to my heart. Together, I hope we can make a real difference in showing people that diet does have the most powerful influence over health, affecting the prevalence of many killer diseases and ailments.”

VVF founder &; director, Juliet Gellatley, says: “We are delighted to have such a brilliant scientist as our patron. One who is truly dedicated to uncovering why diseases such as breast cancer have become so common and who produces excellent information to help people prevent and fight disease.”

The VVF have produced a guide and report on beating breast cancer through diet: A Fighting Chance (guide £1.90) and One in Nine (report, £2.90). To order call 0117 970 5190 or visit

For more information about Professor Plant, please visit


For more information about this release, call VVF press officer Helen Rossiter on 0117 570 5190 or email or Professor Plant, by calling 07796 901124

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
I joined Viva! as a health campaigner in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. My scientific training helped me research and write numerous reports, guides and fact sheets for Viva! including Meat the Truth, Fish-Free for Life, One in Nine (breast cancer and diet) and the substantial report on the detrimental health effects of consuming dairy; White Lies. This accompanied Viva!’s report The Dark Side of Dairy which spelt out the inherent cruelty of dairy farming. We were the first UK group to take on the dairy industry in this way, and many of our supporters go vegan after reading these reports.

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