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High cholesterol may increase breast cancer risk

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Cholesterol testing may help determine a woman's risk of developing breast cancer, according to a new study from the American Journal of Pathology.

Researchers from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jeffers found that a women who have unhealthy cholesterol levels from eating a traditional Western-style diet may be significantly more likely to develop breast cancer than those with more moderate cholesterol.

For the study, the investigation team fed one group of mice a high-fat diet, while another was fed normal food. They found that the mice on the high-fat feed were 50 percent more likely to develop breast cancer. Additionally, the cancer spread and developed twice as fast as the disease normally would.

The researchers said that cholesterol appears to provide building material for tumors, fueling their growth.

"These facts suggest strong environmental influence on breast cancer development," said the study's lead author Philippe Frank. "The consumption of a Western diet resulted in accelerated tumor onset and increased tumor incidences, multiplicity, and burden, suggesting an important role for dietary cholesterol in tumor formation."

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