A new study has shown that women who eat a Mediterranean diet rich in fruit, vegetables, fish and olive oil are 40 percent less likely to get one of the most malignant types of breast cancer.

Oestrogen-receptor negative (ER-negative) breast cancer is an aggressive form of ostmenopausal breast cancer. It accounts for around a third of all breast cancers. ER-negative is harder to treat than other forms of breast cancer as it can’t be treated with hormone therapy. ER-negative breast cancer sufferers have low survival rates.

This important study showed that following a dietary pattern like the med diet could help reduce breast cancer risk.- Panagiota Mitrou, World Cancer Research Fund

Panagiota Mitrou, director of research funding at the World Cancer Research Fund told the Telegraph “This important study showed that following a dietary pattern like the med diet could help reduce breast cancer risk – particularly the subtype with a poorer prognosis.”

The results of the study revealed that participants who adhered to a strict Mediterranean diet reduced their risk of developing ER-negative breast cancer by around 40 percent.

Lead researcher, Piet van den Brandt told the Telegraph, “Our research can help to shine a light on how dietary patterns can affect cancer risk. We found a strong link between the Mediterranean diet and reduced oestrogen-receptor-negative breast cancer risk.“

The Netherlands Cohort Study which looked at the effects of diet on cancer was carried out by Maastricht University and funded by the World Cancer Research Fund. The trial tracked over 60,000 women aged from 55 to 69, for a period of 20 years.

Emma Pennery, clinical director at the UK charity Breast Cancer Care told the telegraph, “This study adds to evidence that a healthy diet full of ‘good’ low saturated fats plays a part in lowering risk of the disease.”

The Netherlands Cohort Study was the latest research to conclude that a Mediterranean diet is conducive to preventing cancer. Diet has long been recognized as one of the major risk factors for developing breast cancer and other forms of the disease.

Results from a 2016 trial in Italy, showed a lower rate of breast cancer relapses among women who had adhered to a Mediterranean diet. In the trial, 307 women who had been treated for early breast cancer were given the choice of following their normal diet or switching to a Mediterranean diet.

199 of the participating women opted to follow a Mediterranean diet, which included plenty of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). The remaining 108 women stuck to their normal diet. After three years it was found that 11 of the women who had eaten a normal diet had suffered a relapse. None of the women who followed a Mediterranean diet suffered a recurrence of the disease.