Public Release: 

A good diet before diagnosis is linked with lower mortality among OVCA survivors

Oxford University Press USA

Prediagnosis diet quality was associated with mortality and may have a protective effect after ovarian cancer, according to a new study published October 14 in the JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The influence of diet, a modifiable lifestyle factor and potential prognostic factor, on survival after an ovarian cancer diagnosis is unclear. To evaluate diet quality and the overall influence of diet on ovarian cancer survival, Cynthia A. Thomson, Ph.D., R.D., a professor from the Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and University of Arizona Cancer Center researcher, at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ, and colleagues analyzed data from 636 cases of ovarian cancer among postmenopausal women within the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study or Clinical Trials from 1993 to 1998. Dietary intake was assessed using food frequency questionnaires and estimates of overall diet quality were measured using the Healthy Eating Index-2005. They observed a higher overall dietary quality was associated with a lower risk of mortality vs the lower overall dietary quality. Also, individual dietary components were not associated with mortality after ovarian cancer, suggesting it is the composite of healthy dietary choices that impacts survival. In subgroup analyses, the relationship between diet quality and mortality was strongest among women with a smaller waist circumference and no history of diabetes but physical activity level did not modify the association.

The authors conclude, "...self-reported dietary quality at least 12 months prior to diagnosis was associated with a statistically significant 27% lower risk of death after ovarian cancer."

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Contact information: Cynthia Thomson, Ph.D., R.D., cthomson@email.arizona.edu

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