Phytoestrogens may protect against ovarian cancer

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Ovarian cancer, Nutrition

A plant-based diet may be important in reducing the risk of ovarian
cancer, report US researchers this month. Fibre, carotenoids and
lignans were all found to lower the risk.

A plant-based diet may be important in reducing the risk of ovarian cancer, report US researchers this month.

Intakes of specific nutrients and food groups have been shown previously to be related to reduced ovarian cancer risk. The team from the University of Buffalo examined the effect of phytochemical intakes on this cancer and reported that fibre appears to reduce the risk significantly.

A high-fibre diet was recently linked to reduced risk of colon cancer, according to two studies in a May issue of The Lancet​. Eating a diet rich in plant foods, including fruit, vegetables and whole-grain cereals, is widely believed to offer good general health protection.

In a case-control study, published in the Journal of Nutrition​, 124 women with confirmed ovarian cancer cases and 696 population-based controls, were matched and diet was assessed with a detailed food-frequency questionnaire. Nutrient and phytochemical intakes were calculated from published food composition data.

The team assessed risk of ovarian cancer with each nutrient, phytochemical and food group with unconditional logistic regression adjusting for age, education, total months menstruating, difficulty becoming pregnant, oral contraceptive use, menopausal status and energy intake.

Women in the highest quintile of dietary fibre intake reduced their risk of the cancer by almost twice as much as those in the lowest quintile, reported the team. Carotenoids (OR 0.33), stigmasterol and total lignans (OR 0.43), also reduced the risk in the study.

"These results support a protective effect on ovarian cancer of phytoestrogen intakes, and our results support the hypothesis that a plant-based diet may be important in reducing risks of hormone-related neoplasms,"​ concluded the researchers.

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