Certain breast cancer survivors who load up on fruits and vegetables, eating far more than current U.S. guidelines, can slash their risk the tumors will come back by nearly a third, according to a U.S. study

The finding only held for women who did not have hot flashes after their cancer therapy, the researchers said — a finding that suggests fruits and vegetables act on estrogen.

Their analysis suggests an explanation for why some studies have shown that eating more fruits and vegetables lowers the breast cancer risk that will come back, while others do not. It may depend on the individual patient, they report in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

“Women with early stage breast cancer who have hot flashes have better survival and lower recurrence rates than women who don’t,” said Ellen Gold of the University of California Davis, who helped lead the study.

Several studies have shown this. And this study showed that women who had hot flashes after treatment for breast cancer had lower estrogen levels than women who did not.

As estrogen drives the most common type of breast cancer, this suggests that eating extra servings of fruits and vegetables — above and beyond the five servings a day recommended by the U.S. government — may lower harmful estrogen levels in cancer survivors, the researchers said.

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