In a comprehensive study of disease in women between the ages of 50 and 79, researchers found that reducing dietary fat may lower the risk of ovarian cancer by 40 percent. The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, showed that women who slashed their fat intake from 35 percent of calories from fat to 20 percent achieved the best results.

“This is the first demonstration that changing your diet can reduce the risk of an important cancer,” says Ross Prentice, PhD, a researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and co-author of the eight-year study.

A recent push to raise awareness of ovarian cancer has led to alarm about the disease's subtle, varied, and common symptoms (think bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, feeling full quickly, and urinary frequency). And while mortality rates for breast and colon cancers have dropped — partially due to high-quality, mandatory diagnostic testing — ovarian cancer remains the fifth leading cause of death for women.

A study of premenopausal women has yet to be conducted, but Prentice recommends reducing your dietary-fat intake now. For more information about ovarian cancer, visit www.ovarian.org.

QUICK TIPS

  • Purchase only low-fat dairy and meat products.
  • Limit added oil and fat when cooking.
  • Cut down on high-fat desserts.
  • Replace fats with complex carbs like those in vegetables, fruit, and grains.