Cutting Ovarian Cancer Risk by Cutting Fat

Many people turn to low-fat diets as a way of shedding excess pounds. But suppose that sticking to such a diet could reduce a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer? Recent research suggests this might be the case. 

A Better Diet 

Appearing in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, this study examined the impact of diet on ovarian cancer risk for postmenopausal women. The nearly 50,000 women who participated in the study were split into two separate groups. One group was assigned a new diet which limited their fat consumption; specifically, only one fifth of this group’s daily caloric intake could come from fat. In comparison, the remaining subjects were told not to make any adjustments to their current diets. 

Years later, the authors followed up with both groups. When it came to overall cancer risk, the authors found that cutting fat had no significant impact on the women’s long-term wellbeing. For ovarian cancer, however, the story was somewhat different. After sticking to the new diet for four years, the subjects’ risk of developing this type of cancer declined. After the four year benchmark, the longer the women remained on the low-fat diet, the less likely they were to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. 

Key Statistics

According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 22,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer during 2020 alone. During the same year, about 14,000 will succumb to this disease.

Risk factors for this type of cancer include a family history of ovarian cancer, and possibly being significantly overweight or obese. As with other forms of cancer, a long-term smoking habit has been linked to increased ovarian cancer risk. Age is also a significant factor; one out of every two diagnoses occur in women over the age of 63.

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