Diet and Sunlight May Be Factors in African-Americans’ Ovarian Cancer Risk

Diet and Sunlight May Be Factors in African-Americans’ Ovarian Cancer Risk
African-American women who have a diet high in calcium and low in lactose may have reduced risk for ovarian cancer, according to the results of a large population-based study. The study, "Dairy, calcium, vitamin D and ovarian cancer risk in African–American women," published in the British Journal of Cancer, also shows that those who have longer sun exposure in the summer months may have lower risk for developing the disease. Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women and the American Cancer Society estimates that more than 14,000 women in the U.S. will die from the disease in 2016. Although the five-year survival rates improved in whites from 35% in 1975-1977 to 46% in 2005-2011, they actually worsened in African Americans, dropping from 42% to 38%. Researchers are working to identify risk factors that can be modified to improve these survival rates. Previous studies had revealed an association between milk consumption or lactose intake with the risk of ovarian cancer, but the results were contradictive. These studies focused mainly on the European population and did not address the importance of dairy consumption in the African-American population. Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey investigators examined data from patients included in the African-American Cancer Epidemiology Study, an ongoing population-based, case-control study of ovarian cancer in African-American women in 11 U.S. states. Eligible participants were Af
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