Long-term dietary change led to 40% reduction in risk, study found
TUESDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Older women who stick to a low-fat, high-fiber diet could cut their odds for deadly ovarian cancer, new research shows.
In fact, postmenopausal women who stayed on the regimen for more than eight years reduced their risk for the disease by 40 percent, a U.S. team said. Those who saw the greatest benefit from the low-fat diet were women who had originally eaten a relatively high-fat diet, the researchers added.
On average, the women had managed to add one serving of fruits or vegetables to their daily diet by end of the six-year follow-up. They had also reduced their daily fat consumption by about 8 percent.
The findings support "the idea that lifestyle changes can be made with intensive help," said Dr. Robert Morgan, section head of medical gynecologic oncology, City of Hope Cancer Center, Duarte, Calif. He was not involved in the study.
Morgan noted that many of his patients ask him about ways they can reduce their cancer risk through diet and exercise. But he said he's found that "it's difficult to change habits, especially if they are longstanding."
Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cancer killer of women. Some 20,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with the disease every year, and about 15,000 women will die from it during the same time frame.
As with most cancers, a woman's chances of survival are better if the disease is found early, but ovarian tumors are a "stealth killer," because they are notoriously difficult to detect in their early stages.
According to Morgan, women have a 2 percent risk of getting ovarian cancer over their lifetime, so the relatively small benefit effect shown over the course of this study should be magnified over a lifetime. Besides helping curb cancer, such a diet would also be beneficial in reducing the risk of other chronic di
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