Skip to content

    Ovarian Cancer Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Good Diet May Aid Ovarian Cancer Survival

    Study Shows Women With Healthy Diets Before Diagnosis Live Longer

    Comparing Food Choices continued...

    Those who ate the most red meat, processed meat, and cured meat had a briefer survival time. When the researchers looked at red meat lovers vs. avoiders, "we found almost a threefold risk of dying for those women who ate four or more servings of red meat a week compared to those who ate less than one serving per week over the 11-year study period," Dolecek says.

    Women who drank more milk also had a disadvantage, although Dolecek can't say why.

    "Women who had seven or more servings of milk of any type per week were two times as likely to die during the study period as those who had none." But Dolecek stressed that the milk finding should be interpreted cautiously. "It may have something to do with the fact that they are genetically predisposed."

    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]."

    1 | 2

    Today on WebMD

    Ovarian cancer illustration
    What are the symptoms?
    doctory with x-ray
    Get to know the Symptoms.
     
    cancer cell
    HPV is the top cause. Find out more.
    Lung cancer xray
    See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
     
    Integrative Medicine Cancer Quiz
    QUIZ
    Lifestyle Tips for Depression Slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    Screening Tests for Women
    Slideshow
    Graphic of ovaries within reproductive system
    VIDEO
     
    Ovarian Cancer Marker
    VIDEO
    Pets Improve Your Health
    SLIDESHOW
     
    Vitamin D
    SLIDESHOW
    Healthy meal with salmon
    Article