ATLANTA, GA—A healthy diet may reduce the risk for developing ovarian cancer in African American women, according to findings presented at the Eighth American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved.

“Because there is currently no reliable screening available for ovarian cancer, most cases are diagnosed at advanced stages,” said the study’s author, Bo (Bonnie) Qin, PhD, a postdoctoral associate at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. “That highlights a critical need for identifying modifiable lifestyle factors, including dietary interventions.”

For the study, researchers assessed the impact of 3 dietary patterns, the 2015 Healthy Eating Index 2005, the 2010 Healthy Eating Index, and the Alternate Healthy Eating Index-2010. Participants were surveyed about their diet in the year leading up to cancer diagnosis or to the time of the interview for controls.

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Results showed among African Americans, those with the highest adherence to the Alternate Healthy Eating Index-2010 were 34% less likely to develop ovarian cancer compared with those with the lowest adherence to the diet.

Researchers also found that postmenopausal women with the highest adherence to the Healthy Eating Index-2010 diet were 43% less likely to develop the disease, while those with the highest adherence to the Alternate Healthy Eating Index-2010 were 51% less likely.

The benefit of the diet comes from the higher intake of total vegetables, greens, beans, seafood, and plant proteins with a reduced intake of empty calories from solid fats, alcohols, and added sugars.

“As a high quality diet is likely to have benefits for many chronic conditions, it is probably a safe bet for better health in general,” Qin said.


1. Healthy diet may reduce risk of ovarian cancer in African-American women [news release]. EurekAlert! web site. Published November 13, 2015. Accessed November 13, 2015.