Breast cancer study seeks postmenopausal women

Researchers at RMIT University's Department of Food Science are recruiting healthy, postmenopausal women to volunteer for a study to see if diet and lifestyle can improve the treatment of breast cancer.

"Previous research has shown that flaxseed may contain compounds that protect postmenopausal women from breast cancer," Leah Williamson, a Masters researcher at RMIT's Department of Food Science, said.

"These compounds, called phytoestrogens, work at lowering levels of estrogens linked to breast cancer. Flaxseed is particularly high in one such phytoestrogen, called lignan, which is believed to reduce the enzymes and the estrogens that cause the breast to produce potentially cancerous cells.

"We are collaborating with Melrose Laboratories to studying the potential benefits of flaxseed in reducing the risk of breast cancer."

Today, one in twelve Australian women will develop breast cancer, making it the most common cancer and one of the most prevalent diseases on Australian women.

"The aim of the research is to assess the relationship between flaxseed and breast cancer, and suggest diets that can be incorporated into the lifestyle of women at risk of breast cancer," Ms Williamson said.

"Our goal is to lower breast cancer risk and improve long-term quality of life."

The RMIT study, titled "Effect of Flaxseed Lignans on Biomarkers of Breast Cancer Risk in Postmenopausal Women", is seeking postmenopausal women in metropolitan Melbourne. Participants must be healthy, not on hormone replacement therapy, non-smokers and at least one year menopausal.

In addition to consuming their normal 'Western' diet and fewer than five alcoholic drinks and no more than three caffeinated beverages per day, the women will provide urine and blood samples for evaluation. Their body weights will be measured and self-reported diet records monitored.

Women interested in taking part in the study should contact Leah Williamson on (03) 9925 3967 or [email protected]

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