Gut Microbiome <> Lifestyle <> Breast Cancer

Gut Microbiome <> Lifestyle <> Breast Cancer

Our microbiome - the organisms that naturally live in/on us

The human microbiota is defined as a set of organisms inhabiting and interacting with the human body. A large proportion of human microbiome is found in the gut and there has been various studies which have shown that having a balanced gut microbiome is linked to our over health and wellbeing. On the other hand, having an imbalanced gut (dysbiosis) has been linked to various disease states like cancer, cardiovascular disease and bowel inflammatory disease due to inflammation, altered immune response and changes in hormone levels [1]

How is gut health related to breast cancer risk?

When dysbiosis occurs, it can lead to inflammation, altered immune response, and changes in hormone levels, all of which can increase breast cancer risk.

In breast cancer, changes in hormone levels specifically Estrogen affects one’s cancer risk. Dysbiosis can affect how estrogen is metabolised hence leading to higher circulating estrogen which increases breast cancer risk [2]

On the other hand, when there is balanced gut microbiome (eubiosis), there will be the presence of beneficial microorganism in our gut. These beneficial microorganism will produce metabolites such as butyrate and other short chain fatty acids which have anti inflammatory and anti cancer properties [3], and also play a part in our normal metabolism. 

Furthermore, eubiosis is also important for a healthy immune system. The gut microorganism play a role in immune regulation where they are crucial for initiating immune responses and also help to support antitumor immune response [4]

How to manage gut health and cancer risk?

  • Regular Exercise and healthy body weight
  • Limit alcohol consumption - as it may increase estrogen levels which can increase risk of breast cancer 
  • Healthy diet - diet with high fiber foods, fruits and vegetables and soy products helps to feed the good bacteria in the gut and hence maintain gut health
  • Stress management with mindfulness activities 
  • Consume probiotics to support and balance the gut health


[1] Ogunrinola GA, Oyewale JO, Oshamika OO, Olasehinde GI. The Human Microbiome and Its Impacts on Health. Int J Microbiol. 2020 Jun 12;2020:8045646. doi: 10.1155/2020/8045646. PMID: 32612660; PMCID: PMC7306068.
[2]Ruo S W, Alkayyali T, Win M, et al. (August 26, 2021) Role of Gut Microbiota Dysbiosis in Breast Cancer and Novel Approaches in Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment. Cureus 13(8): e17472. doi:10.7759/cureus.17472
[3]Son MY, Cho HS. Anticancer Effects of Gut Microbiota-Derived Short-Chain Fatty Acids in Cancers. J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2023 Jul 28;33(7):849-856. doi: 10.4014/jmb.2301.01031. Epub 2023 Mar 30. PMID: 37100764; PMCID: PMC10394342.
[4]Li, Z., Xiong, W., Liang, Z. et al. Critical role of the gut microbiota in immune responses and cancer immunotherapy. J Hematol Oncol 17, 33 (2024).
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