Diet and ovarian cancer.




International Journal of Cancer

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According to the National Cancer Institute, 1 in every 57 American women will develop ovarian cancer. There are several types of ovarian cancer. The most common form is called epithelial carcinoma, which begins on the surface of the ovary. Other types such as germ cell tumors or stromal tumors are less common. Some risk factors for ovarian cancer include family history, use of hormone replacement therapy or fertility drugs, age (more likely to occur in women over 50, but can occur in younger women), and history of other types of cancer. However, women who have had a hysterectomy have a lesser chance of developing ovarian cancer.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer may include nausea, frequent urination, abdominal pain, weight gain, weight loss, or abnormal vaginal bleeding. Conventional treatment of ovarian cancer can include surgery in which the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and cervix may be removed. In other instances treatment may include chemotherapy and radiation.

A study published in the current issue of International Journal of Cancer evaluated specific food consumption in women who survived ovarian cancer. This study included 609 Australian women diagnosed with invasive ovarian cancer. Diet information was obtained through questionnaires. The results indicated that survival rates were higher in those who consumed larger amounts of vegetables or had higher intakes of vitamin E. In addition, higher intakes of protein and red and white meats also had a moderate correlation to decreased risk. The authors concluded that while there is a lot more to be discovered about ovarian cancer, high consumption of vegetables may help improve survival.1


1. Nagle CM. Dietary influences on survival after ovarian cancer. Int J Cancer. Aug 2003;106(2):264-9.