Chinese Breast Cancer Rates Rising at Home and Abroad

Ten years after moving to the United States, Chinese women face breast cancer rates 80 percent higher than those of more recent immigrants, prompting concerns that Western eating habits may be driving rates in Beijing and Shanghai as well, according to a report from Sing Tao Daily. Rong Xiaoqing with New America Media translates:

Many studies have been done to examine the association between the disparities in breast cancer rates and the change on the dietary habits. A new study released in this summer by the Philadelphia-based Fox Chase Cancer Center shows western style diet largely increases breast cancer risk for post-menopausal Chinese women.

The study examined the dietary habits of 1,602 women who were diagnosed for breast cancer between August 1996 to March 1998 and 1500 healthy women. All women live in Shanghai, China and their ages range from 25 to 64. After adjusting other possible factors such as the women’s child bearing status, the study found post-menopausal women following a “meat and sweet” based western style diet are 60% more likely to get breast cancer than same age women who follow a “soy and vegetable” based traditional Chinese diet.

The study, although conducted in China, may have broader effects. “It is definitely applicable to Chinese women in the U.S. because it’s even harder for them to avoid western style diet,” said Marilyn Tseng, one of the researchers of the study.

In a June 2007 CNN World Report, Ding Chen with SBN China spoke with breast cancer survivors in Shanghai, where the rate has tripled in the last 30 years, making it the highest in the country:

Additional FCCC studies on the roles diet and environment play on breast cancer rates, published in 2002 and 2006.


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