Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Philippines - Can blueberry fight breast cancer?

Blueberry consumption may reduce the risk of having breast cancer, according to a new research conducted in New Zealand.

Dr. Janyawat Vuthijumnonk, who recently finished Doctor of Philosophy in Manawatū, said that the biological properties of blueberries, like anthocyanins, help decrease the chance of developing breast cancer.

“Blueberries contain phytochemicals called anthocyanins, which may be responsible for the health benefits of blueberries,” she said. “They reduce free radicals in our system, decrease new blood vessel formation, and increase the number of beneficial bacteria – all elements which help in the fight against breast cancer,” Dr. Vuthijumnonk added.

In the study done in Massey University, they detected a 50-percent lower incidence rate of mammary tumors after including blueberries, which were given either in liquid form or as a pomace (fiber included) supplemented diet form,  to the animals’ diet.

“Interestingly, tumors found in animals that received blueberries with their fiber included [pomace form], were smaller and less aggressive than in animals without blueberry intervention or in animals that received blueberry juice. We also found circulating estrogen – the steroid hormone which plays a key role in breast cancer promotion – was lower in animals that consumed the blueberry pomace supplemented diet. This shows that not only phytochemicals in blueberries play a key role for their health benefits, but the fibre in the fruits was also shown to play an important part,” the 35-year-old doctor further explained.

Dr Vuthijumnonk stressed that it is important to remember that the research was done in an animal trial and the response to environment stress of each animal differ.

“Therefore, we can’t say eating blueberries will prevent breast cancer in humans. But we are able to say blueberry consumption may lower the risk of developing breast cancer at the population level,” the doctor who hails from Thailand clarified.

The breast cancer (women only) was the second most common cancer in the world with about 1.7 million new cases in 2012.

In the Philippines, World Health Organization or WHO’s data show that in 2014, the country reached 7,730 or 1.48% of total deaths due to breast cancer. The age adjusted Death Rate is 22.01 per 100,000 of population which places the Philippines #30 in the world.

The data from the World Center Research Fund International’s website explains that in 2012, there were 14.1 million cases of cancer around the world.

Michael Andrea M. Tangan

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