CBS News Health Reporter April Nelson recently interviewed Georgia Cancer Specialists (GCS) physician Dr. Janice Galleshaw for a news story that aired August 6 about a study that found a possible link between high carbohydrate (carb) diets and breast cancer.
The study, conducted in Mexico and focusing on Mexican women only, found that women who get 62% or more of their calories from carbs are more than twice as likely to have breast cancer than those in the lowest category, who get 52% or less of their calories from carbs.
Dr. Galleshaw said the results are intriguing, but as with many studies, they do not tell the whole story.
“There’s enough information there that it’s provocative…we need to take it in the context of the other good things we know about low-carb diets,” Dr. Galleshaw said in the piece.
For the study, researches compared 475 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer to a group of 1,391 healthy women.
Scientists think carbs may increase cancer risk by rapidly raising sugar in the blood, which prompts a surge of insulin. This causes cells to divide and leads to higher levels of estrogen, both of which can promote cancer.
“Women who are overweight, who have more fat cells, their body makes more estrogen. Estrogen is actually made in those fat cells, which is why we find it’s associated with a higher incidence of breast cancer to start with,” Dr. Galleshaw said.
The United States has one of the highest rates of breast cancer incidences in the world, with 132 out of every 100,000 women diagnosed. Over 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the U.S.