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Ovarian Cancer Urban Legends

Alexandra's picture
Alexandra
Posts: 1205
Joined: Jul 2012

If you disagree with any of the statements below, please don't kill me. I copied and pasted them from PubMed, that's all.

These are not recommendations for survivors' diet or lifestyle. These are studies of ovarian cancer risk factors in general population.

Alexandra's picture
Alexandra
Posts: 1205
Joined: Jul 2012

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23442818

Sugary food and beverage consumption and epithelial ovarian cancer risk: a population-based case-control study.

Source

The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 195 Little Albany St. New Brunswick, NJ 08903, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Ovarian cancer is the deadliest gynecologic cancer in the US. The consumption of refined sugars has increased dramatically over the past few decades, accounting for almost 15% of total energy intake. Yet, there is limited evidence on how sugar consumption affects ovarian cancer risk.

METHODS:

We evaluated ovarian cancer risk in relation to sugary foods and beverages, and total and added sugar intakes in a population-based case-control study. Cases were women with newly diagnosed epithelial ovarian cancer, older than 21 years, able to speak English or Spanish, and residents of six counties in New Jersey. Controls met same criteria as cases, but were ineligible if they had both ovaries removed. A total of 205 cases and 390 controls completed a phone interview, food frequency questionnaire, and self-recorded waist and hip measurements. Based on dietary data, we computed the number of servings of dessert foods, non-dessert foods, sugary drinks and total sugary foods and drinks for each participant. Total and added sugar intakes (grams/day) were also calculated. Multiple logistic regression models were used to estimate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for food and drink groups and total and added sugar intakes, while adjusting for major risk factors.

RESULTS:

We did not find evidence of an association between consumption of sugary foods and beverages and risk, although there was a suggestion of increased risk associated with sugary drink intake (servings per 1,000 kcal; OR=1.63, 95% CI: 0.94-2.83).

CONCLUSIONS:

Overall, we found little indication that sugar intake played a major role on ovarian cancer development.

Alexandra's picture
Alexandra
Posts: 1205
Joined: Jul 2012

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16492930

Dairy products and ovarian cancer: a pooled analysis of 12 cohort studies.

Source

Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Room 339, Building 2, 665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA. pooling@hsphsun2.harvard.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Dairy foods and their constituents (lactose and calcium) have been hypothesized to promote ovarian carcinogenesis. Although case-control studies have reported conflicting results for dairy foods and lactose, several cohort studies have shown positive associations between skim milk, lactose, and ovarian cancer.

METHODS:

A pooled analysis of the primary data from 12 prospective cohort studies was conducted. The study population consisted of 553,217 women among whom 2,132 epithelial ovarian cases were identified. Study-specific relative risks and 95% confidence intervals were calculated by Cox proportional hazards models and then pooled by a random-effects model.

RESULTS:

No statistically significant associations were observed between intakes of milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and dietary and total calcium intake and risk of ovarian cancer. Higher lactose intakes comparing > or = 30 versus <10 g/d were associated with a statistically significant higher risk of ovarian cancer, although the trend was not statistically significant (pooled multivariate relative risk, 1.19; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-1.40; P(trend) = 0.19). Associations for endometrioid, mucinous, and serous ovarian cancer were similar to the overall findings.

DISCUSSION:

Overall, no associations were observed for intakes of specific dairy foods or calcium and ovarian cancer risk. A modest elevation in the risk of ovarian cancer was seen for lactose intake at the level that was equivalent to three or more servings of milk per day. Because a new dietary guideline recommends two to three servings of dairy products per day, the relation between dairy product consumption and ovarian cancer risk at these consumption levels deserves further examination.

Alexandra's picture
Alexandra
Posts: 1205
Joined: Jul 2012

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16172226

Fruits and vegetables and ovarian cancer risk in a pooled analysis of 12 cohort studies.

Source

Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Abstract

Because fruits and vegetables are rich in bioactive compounds with potential cancer-preventive actions, increased consumption may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. Evidence on the association between fruit and vegetable intake and ovarian cancer risk has not been consistent. We analyzed and pooled the primary data from 12 prospective studies in North America and Europe. Fruit and vegetable intake was measured at baseline in each study using a validated food-frequency questionnaire. To summarize the association between fruit and vegetable intake and ovarian cancer, study-specific relative risks (RR) were estimated using the Cox proportional hazards model, and then combined using a random-effects model. Among 560,441 women, 2,130 cases of invasive epithelial ovarian cancer occurred during a maximum follow-up of 7 to 22 years across studies. Total fruit intake was not associated with ovarian cancer risk-the pooled multivariate RR for the highest versus the lowest quartile of intake was 1.06 [95% confidence interval (95% CI), 0.92-1.21; P value, test for trend = 0.73; P value, test for between-studies heterogeneity = 0.74]. Similarly, results for total vegetable intake indicated no significant association (pooled multivariate RR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.78-1.04, for the highest versus the lowest quartile; P value, test for trend = 0.06; P value, test for between-studies heterogeneity = 0.31). Intakes of botanically defined fruit and vegetable groups and individual fruits and vegetables were also not associated with ovarian cancer risk. Associations for total fruits and vegetables were similar for different histologic types. These results suggest that fruit and vegetable consumption in adulthood has no important association with the risk of ovarian cancer.

Alexandra's picture
Alexandra
Posts: 1205
Joined: Jul 2012

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17005245

Does smoking increase risk of ovarian cancer? A systematic review.

Source

Cancer and Population Studies Group, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. susan.jordan@qimr.edu.au

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Although early reports suggested that smoking was not associated with ovarian cancer risk, recent studies have reported positive associations for cancers of the mucinous subtype. We sought to clarify the relationship between smoking and ovarian cancer by histological subtype.

METHODS:

We conducted a systematic literature review and meta-analysis of studies investigating the association between smoking and risk of the different histological subtypes of epithelial ovarian cancer. Eight population-based case-control studies, one pooled analysis of case-control studies, and one cohort study met the inclusion criteria. Summary relative risks (RR), 95% confidence intervals (CI), and tests for heterogeneity were generated from random effects models.

RESULTS:

Combined, these studies included a total of 910 women with mucinous and 5564 with non-mucinous ovarian cancers. There was a significant doubling of risk of mucinous ovarian cancer in current smokers compared to never smokers (summary RR 2.1, 95% CI 1.7-2.7), but no increased risk of serous (1.0, 95% CI 0.8-1.2) or endometrioid (0.8, 95% CI 0.6-1.1) cancers and a significant risk reduction for clear cell cancers (0.6, 95% CI 0.3-0.9). The risk of mucinous cancer increased with increasing amount smoked but returned to that of never smokers within 20-30 years of stopping smoking.

CONCLUSIONS:

Meta-analysis suggests that current smoking doubles a woman's risk of developing mucinous ovarian cancer. Stopping smoking returns the risk to normal in the long term. Smoking may thus be one of the few modifiable factors offering potential for primary prevention of mucinous ovarian cancer.

Alexandra's picture
Alexandra
Posts: 1205
Joined: Jul 2012

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21296269

Recreational physical activity and ovarian cancer risk and survival.

Source

Cancer Prevention, Detection and Control Research Program, Department of Community and Family Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27705, USA. patricia.moorman@duke.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Physical activity may influence ovarian cancer risk and outcomes through effects on ovulation, inflammatory markers, and other processes. We examined associations between self-reported physical activity and ovarian cancer risk and survival in a population-based, case-control study in North Carolina.

METHODS:

The analyses involved 638 epithelial ovarian cancer cases and 683 controls recruited between 1999-2008. Logistic regression analyses were used to assess ovarian cancer risk in relation to reported average physical activity at various time periods. Kaplan-Meier analyses and proportional hazards modeling were used to assess associations between physical activity and survival among ovarian cancer cases.

RESULTS:

Modestly reduced risks for ovarian cancer were observed in some categories of physical activity, but there were no consistent patterns of greater reductions in risk with higher activity levels. Physical activity before diagnosis was not significantly related to ovarian cancer survival overall, but survival was better for women who reported greater than 2 hours of activity/week as compared to those reporting less than 1 hour/week among women who were non-obese (multivariable Hazard ratio = 0.69, 95% confidence interval: 0.47-1.00).

CONCLUSIONS:

Our data provide weak evidence in support of beneficial effects of physical activity on ovarian cancer risk and survival, but results should be interpreted cautiously because of the lack of a clear dose response relation with higher levels of exercise and the likely misclassification of self-reported activity.

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1056
Joined: Sep 2010

I think if you look at the overall research on these subjects, with the exception of the smoking issue, you will find that the conslusions of the bulk of the research contradicts that of these studies.  An interesting issue related to research is that the results of the study are often linked to the interests of whomever is funding the research.  If you're hoping to prove to yourself that it's safe to eat sugar, eat dairy, and not exercise, there's no question you'll find research to support your choice. If, however, you understand the mechanisms that provoke and drive cancer, you won't buy into it.

Alexandra's picture
Alexandra
Posts: 1205
Joined: Jul 2012

Research talks about risk factors of first time diagnosed ovarian cancer in general population. It is quite possible that dietary and lifestyle factors could affect progression-free survival in ovarian cancer patients, but it's not what the studies were about.

Research came from reputable sources which were quoted. Ovarian cancer patients is such a tiny population segment that I doubt that Coca Cola, Dairy Farmers or La-Z-Boy would even care to influence medical researchers into cooking statistics. If you have found other published medical research that contradicts articles I found, don't hesitate to post it.

There are many benefits to eating healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables, limiting processed foods and carbohydrates, exercising and not smoking. No one would argue with the obvious. Unfortunatly none of that directly prevents or cures ovarian cancer. If eating cruciferous vegetables really negated gene mutations, people like me who grew up on borscht and cabbage rolls would be immune. I feel bad when an ovarian cancer patient is led to believe that somehow it's her fault for eating wrong food.

Factors that increase the risk of ovarian cancer are: increasing age, obesity, nulliparity, fertility drugs, androgens, talcum powder, estrogen without progesteron, inherited gene mutations, personal history of cancer.

Factors that decrease risk of ovarian cancer are: breast feeding, tubal ligation, hysterectomy, oral contraceptives, low-fat diet.

Research talks about risk factors of non-hereditary ovarian cancer. So it has nothing to do with me personally (I am BRCA1+) and my choices. I read, get the facts and then I do what's right for me. Just like everyone else. It does not mean that I "buy into" evil sugar propaganda when I choose to have a cookie.  

Diet, exercise, smoking, drinking, HRT, preventative mastectomies, alternative treatments, etc. is a matter of personal choice by informed adults and needs to be discussed in an open and tolerant forum. After all we are in the same boat trying to survive.

2timothy1 7's picture
2timothy1 7
Posts: 333
Joined: Jan 2012

If sugar feeds cancer, why isn't chemo delivered with glucose? I don't know all the science involved with metabolism but this thought has crossed my mind.

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1056
Joined: Sep 2010

Timothy,

Chemo IS delivered in water that contains sugar. 

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1056
Joined: Sep 2010

Alexandra,

I've made a promise to myself not to spend my time researching for others.  I've done it in the past, but I've found that many people either don't understand it, or don't want to hear it.  I've been proactive with this disease and learned an amazing amount on my own and through resources I've sought about how the human body functions and why some people get cancer.  I've had debates on this board about sugar many times in the past, and quite frankly, have had little positive response, except by a few people who contact me privately, in order to avoid this type of conversation.  But I've had plenty of negative responses and have become a target, here and elsewhere.  

These things are for certain: insulin resisitance and diabetes predispose patients to cancer, including ovarian cancer.  You can Google it, if you're interested.  If you're overweight, you have one of these conditions...period.  Exercise and a low carbohydrate diet help to manage these conditions and to, therefore, reduce your risk of cancer.  If you eat sugar, it elevates your insulin growth factor (IGF-1), which is a huge contributor to ovarian cancer, in most cases.  Google it. 

If sugar doesn't feed cancer then why does Thomas Seyfreid's research show that a ketogenic diet causes cancer to reverse?  See the book "Cancer As A Metabolic Disease."

Sugar is a toxin.  Read the following article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Our bodes are designed to consume about 4 pounds of sugar annually, in the form of fruits.  This is what our species consumed up to less than 100 years ago.  Now each western individual eats about 150 pounds a year.  Our bodies are not designed to take in this amount of sugar.  Diabetes, cancer, and heart disease are walking proof of this.  If anyone is to blame, it is big business and politics that allows bad information and harmful foods to be marketed, and leads us to believe we can eat harmful foods and not suffer the side effects.  If you read the latest cardiac health guidelines, they say that women should consume ONLY 20 grams of sugar a day, and that includes the sugar content of all foods consumed.  There are more grams of sugar in a cup of low-fat yogurt than that.  Google it. The data is out there and you don't have to look far.

Mehtylation is an issue for every cancer patient, and it is especially critical in BRCA positive women.  Yes, sulforaphane, an ingredient in cruciferous vegetables, helps stabilize methylation and reduce cancer risk.  Google it.

http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2012/feb/another-mechanism-discovered-which-sulforaphane-prevents-cancer

I'm not out to contradict you, Alexandra, but if you want to claim that sugar is not harmful to ovarian cancer patients, or that exercise will not benefit ovarian cancer patients, or that diet has no impact, I am certainly going to say something.  Look around online.

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/cancer-sugar-strategy-selective-starvation-cancer

http://rense.com/general54/SYUGAR.HTM

I'm sorry if the message I share with the members here is not a popular one.  It never has been.  It's not easy to make major changes and to accept that what we've been taught is not normal. What could possibly be normal, however, about chemically laced, non-nutritious foods, toxins in our environment, and a sedentary lifestyle?  We are the obvious signs that the modern lifestyle is not a healthy one. I, personally, don't care for the statistics that the conventional medical community offers me.  So, I choose to take every precaution available to avoid becoming a part of them.  I'm not saying that is right for everyone, but don't fault me for choosing that avenue and being willing to share what I've learned along the way.  If you don't like what I have to say, then don't listen.  You won't be the first to ignore me.  Laughing 

Alexandra's picture
Alexandra
Posts: 1205
Joined: Jul 2012

Thank you for the wealth of interesting and valuable information.

I don't subscribe to conspiracy theories about big business and politics feeding us bad foods and disinformation. Yes, bad foods are plentiful out there, marketing is enticing but it is every adult's free choice to consume them or not. Same with tobacco and lack of exercise. I don't think that this day and age with wide-spread access to the internet and TV, anyone would claim ignorance.

I would like to repeat (for the third time in this thread) that all the research refers to the statistical studies of diet and lifestyle women prior to being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, not advise on how to behave once you're diagnosed or in treatment. You may choose not to care about conventional medical statistics, but it's out there.

I am sorry that you feel like a target, unpopular or ignored, here or elsewhere. I write about a lot of unpopular things and I don't expect everyone to agree with me or to start getting tummy tucks, to smoke a pack a day, to engage in semi-public sex, to pop estrogen pills or to join Exit International.

I gained a lot from your posts. For example I looked into Paleo diet, selenium supplements, natural female lubricants and more. I enjoyed reading N. Winter's newsletters you post.

My vision of CSN is a free exchange of ideas and opinions, respect of every contributor and no sacred cows and taboo topics. Peace! Smile

123Miley's picture
123Miley
Posts: 94
Joined: Jan 2013

I am an interesting, although anecdotal, example of so much of what Alexandra has posted.  I was a young, very in shape and health conscience person.  I worked out 4 days a week and watched what I ate:  fat, sugar ect.  I have never smoked.  I was diagnosed with stage 3C ovarian cancer at age 42.  My sister is a 10 year breast cancer survivor.  We have both been tested and do not have the known genetic link.

Obvioulsy a healthy lifestyle is a good preventitive for any negative health issue and helps us to deal with the ones we do suffer from. As individuals we all should be informed, educated and choose to do what works for us.    

But diet and life style is no guarantee we won't be faced with cancer or any other of the multitude of health issues.  

It just goes to show there is a whole lot we still don't know. 

wholfmeister's picture
wholfmeister
Posts: 249
Joined: Dec 2012

Wink

We all need to lighten up here!

I am a medical professional.  I read medical research proposals and reports on a regular basis.  I author numerous papers.  Trust me...I know you can find research to prove whatever point of view you would like to support.  I appreciate this discussion board for the variety of viewpoint.  And both Alexandra and Kate are so generous in sharing what they have learned...I love you both.

I don't come to this site for professional medical or health advice.  I come here for the community support and the sharing of experiences.  And maybe most of all, I come here for a bit of humor to ease all the stress.

So lighten up!

 

Pamela B's picture
Pamela B
Posts: 108
Joined: Jan 2013
I agree with both of you! Wasn't there a study by Sloane Kettering linking cancer in general and over consumption of Carbohydrates? As an engineer with a statistic background I know you can make the data fit any situation desired and I still like to hear both sides. I think it is an individual call. What might work for one doesn't necessarily fit or work for another. I was also was very physically active, watched what I ate, no meat or non organic foods, non-smoker, BRAC negative, and I still was diagnosed with stage 3C. Who knows what causes it or keeps it away. I try to eliminate to some degree many variables that "might" impact the return of cancer. But I am human and have the occasional cookie when I need it. Everything in moderation. Love these information thought provoking posts and appreciate all views!
Ordinary.Girl22's picture
Ordinary.Girl22
Posts: 2
Joined: May 2013

Reading all this as I'm eating chips! 

great! 

Alexandra's picture
Alexandra
Posts: 1205
Joined: Jul 2012

If you want chips, have chips. Just don't wipe your fingers on the drapes.

And cover your ears when bitter old ladies talk about sex. Smile

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