Breast cancer is the most frequent type of cancer in women. Recent data suggest that lifestyle factors including dietary factors play a significant role in the development of and survival from breast cancer. In particular, there is convincing evidence that obesity is a potent risk factor for both cancer development and prognosis, increasing the risk for overall and breast cancer mortality by approximately 30%. In contrast, there is still only limited evidence that specific dietary patterns or dietary components affect breast cancer outcomes. However, current knowledge suggests that a healthy/Mediterranean-like diet characterized by high intake of fruit, vegetables, fiber, fish and unsaturated oils, particularly n-3 fatty acids, has a modest protective effect on breast cancer, whereas a typical Western diet characterized by high intake of total/saturated fat, refined carbohydrates, processed and red meat and low fiber intake is associated with modestly poorer outcome. Based on this evidence, weight control is a key recommendation for primary and secondary prevention of breast cancer. Adherence to a healthy/Mediterranean-like diet and avoidance of a Western diet may confer additional, although still unproven, benefit.

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