By Jennifer Lilonsky ( | First Posted: Mar 14, 2013 08:03 PM EDT

(Photo : Reuters )

A new study reveals that a diet consisting of high-fat food products like whole milk, cream and butter may increase the risk of death years for breast cancer survivors.

The research included analyzing data from about 1,900 women who were monitored over a course of almost 15 years. The women who participated in the study were diagnosed between 1997 and 2000 with an early stage of the disease.

The participants provided information regarding their diets from the beginning of the study, while most also gave this information six years later.

Out of the nearly 1,900 women who participated in the study, 349 had their cancer return over the time period of the research and 372 women died. About half, or 189 deaths, were recorded and were found to be a result of breast cancer.

One of the study's authors, Candyce Kroenke who is a staff scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif., said that women "who ate one or more servings of high-fat dairy a day had a 49 percent higher risk of breast cancer death compared to those who ate up to half a serving a day."

The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found that women in the group that consumed more high-fat dairy foods-characterized by eating one serving or more of a high-fat dairy product per day-displayed a 64 percent increased risk of dying from any cause.

But Kroenke also said that the data did not show any significant link between a diet of high-fat dairy foods and the recurrence of breast cancer.

"This is really one of the early studies of this topic," said Leslie Bernstein who was not involved in the study and is the director of the division of cancer etiology in the Beckman Research Institute at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif.

"It's an interesting finding."

But researchers agree that more studies need to be conducted on the issue to determine if there really is a link between increased death years and a high-fat dairy diet.

"If women have breast cancer and are trying to reduce their estrogen exposure, shifting away from high-fat dairy to lower-fat dairy would make sense," Kroenke said.


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