High-Sugar Western Diet To Enhance Breast Cancer Risk

Researchers have found that the high level of sugar in the Western diet could enhance the risk of breast cancer. Scientists warn further that common sugar contained in drinks like Coke and food such as ketchup, biscuits, and cereal bars could be contributing to the higher risk of breast cancer. They also added that the high sugar level has the potential to spread cancer to the lungs, according to a new study.

Researchers noticed that mice fed with a sucrose-rich diet just like our Western diet, a higher level of metastasis and tumor growth were seen as the cancer spread. What is more, just one drink across a day is adequate to increase breast cancer risk by as much as 15%. Corn syrup and table sugar were the other culprits contributing to the same risk.

Scientists from the MD Anderson Centre, University of Texas fed groups of mice with one from 4 different diets and noted at six months of age, 30% of them fed with starch controlled diets developed measurable tumors.  However in the case of mice fed with sucrose-enriched diet about 58% of them developed breast cancer.  

Professor Lorenzo Cohen, a co-author of the study, said: “We determined that it was specifically fructose, in table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, ubiquitous within our food system, which was responsible for facilitating lung metastasis and 12-HETE production in breast tumours.”

Dr. Peiying Yang, another co-author, also stated that she believed the present study to be the first to examine the direct impact of sugar consumption and its relation to the risk of breast cancer. Both the authors also stated that it was a matter of public health priority to identify risk factors associated with breast cancer.

“We found that sucrose intake in mice comparable to levels of Western diets led to increased tumour growth and metastasis, when compared to a non-sugar starch diet.” 
                                                                                                                               – Dr Peiying Yang
In the UK, 35 kilos is the per capita consumption of sugar even as the consumption of drinks rich in sugar has been repeatedly identified as a major factor leading to the rise in heart disease, obesity, and cancer across the globe.


In the UK alone 2.5 million people are living with cancer, and 46% death is attributed to breast cancer, prostate, bowel and lung cancers. 50% adults who are diagnosed with different forms of cancer survive for ten years or more.

25% people face disability or ill health after getting treatment for cancer. Similarly, 28% cancer deaths are attributed to smoking while those above 65 years of age face the highest risk of being affected by cancer. Every week, 30 children are diagnosed with cancer in the UK.