Eating eggs regularly during teenage years may stop women from developing breast cancer later in life, according to researchers in the US.

Lindsay Frazier and colleagues at Harvard Medical School asked 121,707 women about their eating habits when they were teenagers. They found that women who ate more eggs, vegetable fat and dietary fibre between the ages of 12 and 18 were less likely to develop breast cancer later in life. On the other hand, women who ate high levels of butter during their teenage years were more likely to develop the disease.

"Increased consumption of eggs was associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer, whereas increased consumption of butter was associated with a slight increase in risk.

"In addition, increased intake of vegetable oils and dietary fibre seemed to be inversely related to risk of breast cancer," the researchers wrote in the journal Breast Cancer Research, as quoted by BBC Online.

The researchers admitted that their findings were preliminary and said that further research is needed.

A spokeswoman for the UK charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer said: "The relationship between diet and breast cancer is an interesting one but we would be hesitant to draw any conclusions from this particular study as more research is needed.

"We would continue to advise all women to maintain a healthy and balanced diet."