Ovarian Cancer: A Healthy Diet May Help Lower the Risk for Black Women
According to a new study, Black women can lower their risk of developing ovarian cancer simply by following a healthy diet. Among American women, ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death. Black women are less likely to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer than their white peers. However, Black women are also more likely to die from the disease.
The author of the study, Bonnie Qin, stated in a release from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) that a diet filled with high-quality foods “is likely to have benefits for many chronic conditions.” Qin, a Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey postdoctoral associate, also confirmed that a diet filled with whole and nutritious foods is also beneficial for overall health. Qin recently presented the findings from her research at an Atlanta AACR meeting.
The medical study involved 415 Black women with ovarian cancer, along with a control group of 629 Black women who did not have the disease. The women with ovarian cancer provided details about their dietary habits the year before they were diagnosed. The women in the control group also described their diets for the year before the study.
This study was not for cause and effect purposes, but rather, showed that the women who ate the healthiest foods on a regular basis (according to U.S. government regulations) were 34 percent less likely to get ovarian cancer than women who maintained less healthy diets.
Women who were post-menopausal had a 43 to 51 percent reduction in their risk of ovarian cancer than those who paid less attention to their diets, according to Qin’s research team. Qin confirms that prevention is key when it comes to avoiding cancer of the ovaries.
She also stated that there isn’t currently a reliable screening test available for ovarian cancer. Most women who suffer from the disease find out they have ovarian cancer during the later stages of the disease. This is an even bigger reason why making lifestyle adjustments, particularly following a healthy diet, is crucial when it comes to increasing the chances of being cancer-free. Qin shares that more research is necessary to find out whether all aspects of the diet, or particular nutrients, have anything to do with reducing ovarian cancer risk.
Dr. Stephen Rubin, the chief of gynecologic oncology at Philadelphia’s Fox Chase Cancer Center, reviewed the findings from Qin’s study as well and confirmed that “adherence to a healthy diet–one that includes a higher intake of vegetables, seafood and plant proteins and a lower intake of calories from solid fats, alcohol and added sugars–was associated with a significantly reduced risk of ovarian cancer.”
Dr. Rubin also stated that the study is somewhat limited, since participants may not be able to accurately remember the details of their diets over the past year. However, the observations also indicate that a healthy, balanced diet can be beneficial for treating and preventing a number of serious medical conditions. The findings from this study are deemed preliminary until they are officially published in a peer-reviewed journal.