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Good Diet May Aid Ovarian Cancer Survival

Study Shows Women With Healthy Diets Before Diagnosis Live Longer

Comparing Food Choices continued...

Eating fruits also helped, but as a whole, high intakes of fruits and vegetables evaluated together didn't make enough of a survival difference to be significant from a statistical point of view, the researchers found.

It's not clear, either, exactly how a healthy diet may lengthen survival in those with ovarian cancer, Dolecek says. "You might have a stronger immune system," she says, Or ''your overall health status may be better."

In future research, Dolecek hopes to find out if improving the diet after diagnosis may also boost survival. "Further research is needed to determine if the quality of the post-diagnosis diet impacts survival," she says.

Ovarian Cancer: Lifestyle Matters

The new findings echo some from previous research, says Cynthia A. Thomson, PhD, RD, an associate professor of nutritional sciences, medicine, and public health at the Arizona Cancer Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, who co-authored an editorial to accompany the new study.

''I think the message is 'lifestyle matters' -- and lifelong lifestyle habits," she tells WebMD.

The message from the study, Thomson says, is optimistic for some. "Yes, you may still have a difficult diagnosis to deal with, but if you go in being a healthy eater, in the long run you may have a better prognosis and survival."

''Ideally," she says, "we need to study this after diagnosis and find out if they change their eating -- can they change their survival [time]."

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