Eating white bread and pasta could increase risk of breast cancer returning in patients
- Starch-rich diet linked to new tumours developing
- Refined carbohydrates, such as white breads and white pasta, contain more starch than whole grains
Last updated at 5:02 PM on 9th December 2011
Researchers are unable to explain the trend but it is believed that increased insulin levels, sparked by refined carbohydrates, could stimulate the growth of cancerous cells.
A team from University of California, San Diego, studied the diets of 2,651 breast cancer survivors over 12 months.
They found that carbohydrates in general - especially starches - were linked to the risk of new tumours developing.
The rate of recurrence was 14.2 per cent among women who increased their starch intake while it was 9.7 per cent for those who decreased their consumption.
Lead researcher Jennifer Emond said: 'The results show that it's not just overall carbohydrates, but particularly starch.
Women whose cancer recurred increased their carbohydrate by 2.3g per day during the first year, while those who did not see a recurrence reduced their intake by 2.7g.
Professor Emond added: 'We didn't pinpoint the exact foods.'
Marji McCullough from the American Cancer Society said the findings, presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in Texas, are important for breast cancer survivors who want to know know how to lower their risk of recurrence.
However she added that it is too early to advise making dietary changes and further research is need.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive, Breast Cancer Campaign said, 'This study suggests that reducing starch consumption could possibly reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence.
'However, it is too early to make dietary recommendations based on these results and we therefore welcome further investigations into this interesting area.
'While the overall risk of developing the disease can be reduced with some adjustments to diet, a reduction in alcohol consumption and not smoking, the causes of breast cancer are complex with the biggest risk factors being gender, age and genetics.'
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK affecting about 46,000 women every year.