Does Eating Garlic Impact Breast Cancer Risk?

Breast cancer is a common form of cancer in women. In fact, one out of eight women will develop the disease in their lifetime. There are several risk factors that increase the chances of your aging relative getting breast cancer. Unfortunately, one of them is simply getting older. Obviously, there’s nothing you can do about the senior’s age. However, there are other steps that can be taken to reduce breast cancer risk. A recent study suggests that one of them is eating more garlic.

Garlic and Breast Cancer Study

There have been many studies in the past looking at how eating garlic and its close relative, onion, affect cancer risks. However, there has been little study done that specifically relates to garlic, onions, and breast cancer. Researchers at the University at Buffalo in New York set out to see if there was a link.

The team of researchers used the medical records of 314 women in Puerto Rico who were between the ages of 30 and 79. In addition, there were 346 control participants of similar ages. None of the control participants had a history of cancer, except for some cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer. To find out how the participants ate, the researchers had them respond to a food questionnaire.

The results of the study showed that Puerto Rican women who ate onions and garlic had a 67 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer. The researchers believe the lowered risk has something to do with several substances in the foods that are thought to protect against cancer.

Preventing Breast Cancer

The study doesn’t prove a cause and effect relationship between onion and garlic and breast cancer risk. However, it does show a link. That said, there’s certainly no harm in adding some extra garlic and onions to your older family member’s meals if they enjoy them. Some other steps that can help to prevent breast cancer are:

  • Limiting Alcohol: The more alcohol a woman drinks, the higher her chances for getting breast cancer are. Women should limit their alcohol consumption to no more than one drink per day.
  • Quit Smoking: If your aging relative smokes, they should quit since research shows smoking increases the risk of breast cancer.
  • Lose Weight: Women who are overweight or obese should try to lose weight, ideally reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.

Home care can assist older women to reduce their breast cancer risk. Home care providers can cook healthy meals, including onions and garlic, if your loved one likes them. Home care providers can also encourage the older adult while she quits smoking, also offering a distraction when she feels the urge to smoke. In addition, a home care provider can assist with weight loss by making meals that are low-calorie and by assisting the older adult to be more physically active.


If you are considering hiring home care in Hooper, UT, for an aging loved one, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors of Ogden, UT. Call today 801-821-4535.