Researchers in Italy have suggested that administering the yellow fever vaccine to women aged between 40 and 54 years could halve the risk of developing breast cancer.
The study, published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, analysed the medical records of over 12,000 women who had received the yellow fever vaccine. Scientists found that in the 3,140 women aged 40-54, those who had received the vaccination more than two years ago were 54% less likely to develop breast cancer than those who had received it within the previous two years. However, women who were vaccinated before the age of 40, or over the age of 54 did not see a significant reduction in breast cancer risk.
Dr Richard Berks, Senior Research Communications Officer at Breast Cancer Now, said:
“These findings are very intriguing, but a number of unanswered questions remain. Further studies are now needed to understand whether it is the yellow fever vaccine itself that is having this effect, or other factors, before this could be tested in people as a means to reduce breast cancer risk.
“With the number of people being diagnosed with breast cancer continuing to rise, we urgently need more research into breast cancer prevention to help improve the number of risk-reducing options available to women.
“In the meantime, women of all ages can reduce their risk of breast cancer by maintaining a healthy weight, reducing their alcohol intake, and partaking in regular physical activity.”