Women with an overall higher quality diet prior to diagnosis with ovarian cancer may have a lower risk of all-cause mortality, according to a new study.
Women with an overall higher quality diet prior to diagnosis with ovarian cancer may have a lower risk of all-cause mortality, according to data taken from the Women’s Health Initiative.
Those women with a small waist circumference and without a history of diabetes may have an even greater protective effect, the study found.
“In this analysis, none of the individual dietary components was associated with mortality after ovarian cancer, suggesting that it is the overall dietary pattern that is relevant,” wrote researchers led by Cynthia A. Thomson, PhD, RD, of Canyon Ranch Center for Prevention and Health Promotion at the University of Arizona. “A large, randomized, controlled trial is currently underway to test the hypothesis that dietary changes toward higher Healthy Eating Index, along with physical activity, adopted after treatment for stage II-IV ovarian cancer will improve progression-free survival.”
The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, looked at 636 women with ovarian cancer from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study of Clinical Trials, which included postmenopausal women followed from 1995 to 2012. The researchers measured dietary quality using the Healthy Eating Index, a food frequency questionnaire. The questionnaire assessed dietary factors including intake of whole fruits and vegetables, dark green and orange vegetables, whole grains, milk, meat, beans, and fats. The women were separated into three groups based on dietary quality.
The researchers found that women with the highest-quality diet had a 27% decreased all-cause mortality after ovarian cancer diagnosis compared with women in the lowest tertile for dietary quality (HR = 0.73; 95% CI, 0.55-0.97). Specifically, a 40% lower mortality risk was found in those women with a waist circumference of 88 cm or less. A 27% lower risk was found in those women with no prior history of diabetes.
When patients were stratified according to physical activity levels, the researchers observed no modification of the association between diet quality and survival.
“Whether changing diet to increase diet quality score after ovarian cancer diagnosis would offer improvement in mortality is yet to be determined,” the researchers concluded.