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Asparagus and breast cancer study: What you need to know

Joy Victory is deputy managing editor of HealthNewsReview.org. She tweets at @thejoyvictory.

Blocking the amino acid asparagine in genetically modified mice was linked to slowed breast cancer metastasis, according to a research letter published in the journal Nature.

It’s an interesting premise, and one that’s likely worth further study, but as several of our alert Twitter followers pointed out to us, some journalists went overboard on this one:

Some resulting news coverage bordered on scare-mongering, primarily by making it sound like the findings apply to people. By our latest count, the story has appeared in The Guardian, the BBC, HuffPost UK, Medical News Today, The Boston Globe, among others.

Bottom line on this one? In what was almost the bottom line at the end of The Guardian’s story was a quote from a UK breast cancer charity executive: “On current evidence, we don’t recommend patients totally exclude any specific food group from their diet without speaking to their doctors.”

What you need to know:

asparagus and breast cancer

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Comments (1)

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John Galbraith Simmons

February 12, 2018 at 7:31 am

This article in The Guardian would be worth something if it fit the story about asparagus into the larger popular narrative about diet and cancer, as counterpoint to the notion that specific foods or supplements can help prevent cancer.