NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New research shows that changes in diet not only lowers risk for breast cancer, it also reduces a woman’s risk of dying of the disease.

CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reports on the new development.

Cynthia Arrington, a 55-year-old breast cancer patient, works with her dietitian Kelly Hogan for nutritional and wellness counseling at Mount Sinai’s Dubin Breast Center.

“I am learning that there are many ways to eat healthier and love what you are eating,” said Arrington.

The new study shows women who follow a balanced, low fat diet with increased fruits, vegetables and grains have a 21 percent lower risk of death from breast cancer.

“There are certain things we cannot control about breast cancer recurring or developing in the first place,” said Dr. Elisa Port. “The very interesting thing about this study is that this shows us there are things we can control things like diet, maintaining a healthy body weight.”

The study, being presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting, looked at nearly 49,000 post-menopausal women. One group adopted a low fat diet for 8 years, while the other group continued their normal diet. The women who ate low fat were diagnosed with fewer breast cancers.

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Hogan tells patients to eat less red meat and processed foods and sprinkle in some healthy plant-based fats from olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados.

Arrington says while she was already eating very healthy before her diagnosis, she’s never felt better.

“When I got diagnosed, it broke my heart because I thought I did all the right things,” she said. “I am just living more than ever now. And I am excited about life and I love life.”

There’s a well-known link between obesity and breast cancer. The women who ate the lower fat diet also lost about 3-percent of their weight.

That and exercise are the best ways to reduce your risk for breast and many other cancers.

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