Reducing Ovarian Cancer Recurrence
A much-needed study is examining whether ovarian ca ncer survivors can live longer by eating a diet high in plant foods and getting re gular physical activity.
Ovarian cancer is one of the most deadly women’s ca ncers. That’s because its symptoms, such as abdominal bloating, are difficult to decipher until it has progressed to a late stage. Only 44 percent of ovarian cancer survivors live 5 years past diagnosis.
Researchers at the University of Arizona, in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute, are conducting the first-ever randomized controlled study on whether ovarian cancer survival is linked with diet and phy sical activity.
The two-year LIVES (Lifestyle Intervention for Ovar ian Cancer Enhanced Survival) study will try to find out if diet and physical act ivity together can improve survival for women after treatment for advanced ovarian cancer.
“Ovarian cancer is a very aggressive disease,” says Tracy Crane, MS, RDN, of the University of Arizona Cancer Center. She is working on the study under principal investigators David S. Alberts, MD and Cynthia Thomson, PhD, RDN.
“Patients, family members and health care providers are all interested in having more information and guidance to share with women at the end of their chemotherapy,” she says.
Trying to Pinpoint Prevention Factors
The researchers recently reviewed available studies that looked at whether a woman’s diet is associated with her risk of develop ing ovarian cancer.
“Our earlier research suggests there is no ‘miracle food’ when it comes to reducing the risk of ovarian cancer,” Tracy says. “Instead it’s the overall quality of the diet that makes a difference.”
The evidence seems to suggest that a combination of healthy lifestyle choices may affect risk and possibly survival.
Trying for Healthier Lifestyles
In the LIVES study, women who have finished chemoth erapy treatment for ovarian cancer and are in remission are randomly assigned t o one of two groups. One group receives general health information and the other r eceives specific health coaching about diet, physical activity and weight control.
All participants are asked to fill out questionnair es regarding their diet and physical activity, plus other lifestyle and health issues. Blood samples also are collected to evaluate diet and related measures of health status.
The study expects to recruit nearly 1,100 participa nts from around the country. Subjects must be referred by their physician. For more information, call 1-888-TEAL-756 (1-888-832-5756) or visit www.ovarianlives.org.