Washington, D.C.—A new study conducted by the University of South Carolina (USC) and partially funded by the American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) presented findings at the AICR 25thResearch Congress that suggest postmenopausal breast cancer survivors who consumer an anti-inflammatory diet made up of whole grain, healthy fats, spices and vegetables have a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease mortality. While the study has yet to be published or undergo the peer review process, the findings can be important because breast cancer survivors face a heightened risk of cardiovascular disease and death associated with it.

Using a dietary inflammatory index (DII) developed by USC, the study scored the inflammatory potential of the diets of 2,150 breast cancer survivors aged 50-79, who participated in long term Women’s Health Initiative Study conducted between 1993 and 1998. These women completed a questionnaire on dietary habits, on average one and a half years after their cancer diagnosis. Researchers then divided the women into four dietary groups and assigned a score to their foods’ inflammatory potential using the DII.

After an average of 13.3 years, 580 of the women died, of which 180 died from cardiovascular disease. Study results showed, after adjusting for key risk factors such as age and BMI, that the women who consumed the diet rated most anti-inflammatory experience a 56% decreased risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared to those who consumer pro-inflammatory diets.   This study finds no link between an anti-inflammatory diet and overall or breast cancer-related mortality.