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This cancer usually affects women who have been through the menopause but it can also affect younger women. There are 30 types of it. Sadly, this is a difficult cancer to diagnose because the symptoms tend to be associated with other illnesses, so vital treatment is delayed.
The following factors can increase the risk of developing it:-
- there is a history of it in their families. (They could get tested for this.)
- being overweight.
- not exercising.
- a very small risk associated with taking HRT.
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Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
Unfortunately, the symptoms are similar to those of IBS.
- Feeling constantly bloated.
- Swollen stomach.
- Feeling full too quickly when eating.
- Discomfort in the stomach and pelvic area.
- Needing to urinate more often than usual.
Sometimes, surgery is performed to remove the cancer cells. This often involves the removal of both ovaries, womb and fallopian tubes. Also, chemotherapy may be used.
Statistically, about half of women with ovarian cancer will live for at least 5 years after diagnosis and about 1 in 3 will live at least 10 years.
Could a healthy diet help to prevent ovarian cancer?
A study carried out in Zhejiang, China in 1999-2000, showed that there was an increased risk associated with a high consumption of animal fat and fried foods. This same study also suggests that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, but less animal fat, fried, cured and smoked food, contributes to a lower risk of ovarian cancer.
Another study’s results conducted in New York, 2003, showed that a diet with a high phytoestrogen (plant oestrogen) intake was related to a reduced ovarian cancer risk.
Even after their diagnosis, 1 study carried out by the University of Illinois, 2010, found that women who ate a healthy diet in the years before developing it may live longer than those who don’t. This is supported by the findings recorded in the British Journal of Cancer in 2017, where a study in Australia noted the same findings. The participants had higher amounts of green leafy vegetables, fruit, fish and fibre.
Foods to eat.
In general include the following in your diet:-
- Eat foods that are an excellent source of protein like eggs, skinless poultry, fish, nut butter, lentils, beans, soya, nuts and seeds.
- Dairy and dairy alternatives, Greek yoghurt, cottage cheese, milk and milk alternatives.
- Fruit: 2 to 3 servings a day.
- Vegetables 3 to 5 servings a day.
- Oats, barley, brown rice, whole-wheat bread and pasta, sweet potatoes, potatoes and peas and quinoa.
- Healthy fats like olive oil, nut butter, nuts and seeds.
- Sip water.
If you are having treatment for this illness, then try to eat the above, bearing in mind that more protein is needed to help you to heal.
If you’re struggling with bloatedness, then having small and frequent meals is advisable but make sure you eat a source of protein with each meal like peanut butter, eggs, rice, cottage cheese and bananas, for example. Make sure that you cook broccoli and cauliflower thoroughly.
A low-intensity exercise like a 20 to 30 walk will improve digestive mobility.
Avoid greasy, fatty meals and carbonated drinks.
So ladies, if you notice any changes in your digestion or toileting habits then please see your doctor. The sooner the better.
Sources: nhs.uk, everydayhealth.com, ncbi-nlm.nih.gov, academic.oup.com, healthline.com, webmd.com, nature.com