Ovarian Cancer: Good News

Carrots and tomatoes are loaded with the cancer-fighting antioxidants carotene and lycopene, and eating them regularly may help reduce your risk of ovarian cancer by up to 50 percent. That was the conclusion of a Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, study comparing 563 women who had ovarian cancer with 523 who didn't. Researchers suggest aiming for two half-cup servings of tomato sauce (the most concentrated lycopene source) or other tomato products and five raw carrots weekly. Other antioxidant-rich foods linked in the research to a lower ovarian-cancer risk are spinach, yams, cantaloupe, corn, broccoli and oranges. The study was published in the International Journal of Cancer. -- Karen Asp

Symptoms are not so silent after all

By the time most ovarian cancers are diagnosed, they've progressed to the point that a cure is unlikely. But a study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, shows that 93 percent of women with the disease experienced at least one early symptom that was easy to dismiss or blame on something else (compared to 42 percent of women without the disease). "Ovarian cancer is not silent," says Beth Karlan, M.D., director of the division of gynecologic oncology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. "Though they may be subtle, there are symptoms." Be sure to tell your doctor if you have a family history of ovarian or breast cancer or experience any of the following symptoms that persist and seem to be getting worse:

* Bloating, "fullness" or pressure in the abdomen or pelvis (experienced by 71 percent)

* Abdominal or lower-back pain (52 percent)

* Lack of energy (43 percent)

* Frequent urination, urgency or burning (33 percent)

Other, less-common symptoms include constipation, lack of appetite, diarrhea and nausea. -- Karen J. Bannan

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