Dietary and lifestyle modifications in the prevention of epithelial ovarian cancer recurrence
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BACKGROUND: Advanced stage epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) presents with an extremely poor prognosis. While some patients respond well to standard treatments of chemotherapy and cytoreductive surgery, the recurrence rate is high and five-year survival is low. The importance of nutritional eating and a healthy lifestyle has been recognized as a protective factor against the development of many cancers. There may be a role for dietary and lifestyle interventions on reducing the recurrence of EOC, thereby prolonging survival. LITERATURE REVIEW FINDINGS: A review of the literature was performed, focusing on dietary and lifestyle patterns and their effects on the development and recurrence of epithelial ovarian cancers. In general, carotenoids, flavonoids, cruciferous vegetables, and flaxseed rich diets have all been proposed to reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer. Conversely, red and processed meats, and foods with high glycemic index have been associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer development. Additionally, obesity and high Body Mass Index (BMI) have been linked to increased cancer risk as well as increased mortality rates from cancer. PROPOSE METHODS: Given the broad spectrum of dietary and lifestyle recommendations for prevention of EOC, many providers are not aware of what information they can give to their patients regarding this topic. A Continuing Medical Education (CME) lecture summarizing the most up-to-date literature on the topic of lifestyle interventions to increase EOC survival would be beneficial. A one hour long course will be offered for CME credit to expand the knowledge base of providers and equip them with the resources necessary to educate patients on healthy lifestyle modifications in order to minimize ovarian cancer recurrence. CONCLUSIONS: With a lack of definitive cure and poor overall prognosis for women diagnosed with advanced stage epithelial ovarian cancer, there is a need for alternative treatment options when traditional methods fail. There is promising evidence that a diet high in carotenoids, cruciferous vegetables, flaxseed, and several other nutritional components is beneficial in preventing development of ovarian cancer. A diet containing processed foods, red meats, dairy, and high sugar content has been associated with increased ovarian cancer risk. It is possible that these dietary recommendations may apply to prevention of recurrence of EOC as well. The CME lecture will present the most up-to-date knowledge in the area of lifestyle interventions for the prevention of EOC. A curriculum for primary care and oncology health care providers will provide them with the tools necessary to provide their patients with nutrition and lifestyle recommendations that may prevent cancer recurrence.