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Fruits and Vegetables: No Guarantees for Breast Cancer Prevention

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables may be good for the body in many ways, but researchers say preventing breast cancer is not one of them. CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers has the story.


Some women may have thought something as simple as eating fruits and vegetables could reduce their chances of developing breast cancer, but a new study suggests there are no magic bullets.


"Fruits and vegetables are not associated with a lower risk of breast cancer," says Stephanie Smith-Warner of the Harvard School of Public Health.


Smith-Warner led the study that analyzed the diets of more than 350,000 women. The research contradicted earlier studies and caught some researchers off guard.


"It's important to keep in mind that this is just one study," says Nancy Potischman of the National Cancer Institute. "It's a strong study, and it's compelling, but it's not the end of the story."


Experts had said they believed that a diet high in fruits and vegetables could make a difference when it comes to breast cancer. Author and dietician Elaine Magee still holds on to that belief, despite the new findings.


"Will I talk about it in the seminars and articles that I write? Absolutely. But will I stop telling women to eat more fruits and vegetables--particularly dark green vegetables? Absolutely not," says Magee.


Experts say there is plenty of conflicting information out there concerning the effect of fruits and vegetables on breast cancer, and the latest study only adds to the confusion and fear that women have when it comes to the disease.


Breast cancer will strike nearly 200,000 women and is expected to kill more than 40,000 this year.


Experts say continuing to eat fruits and vegetables has many benefits, including lowering the risk of heart disease and other cancers (such as stomach and lung).


The study appears in this week's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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