ovarian cancer and diet

A friend of mine who is a long time ovarian survivor, recurred but has been well for many years, posted this on the ACOR Listserve. I must say I agree with her. This is what she wrote:
"I can't help but jump in every time this topic comes around. We have had many women here who have radically changed their diets, convinced it would spare a recurrence. They have or have not, recurred. There are many others that have changed nothing (your truly), they have or have not, recurred. I am right there with Flit. I do not for one second believe ovca is diet-related. The ones who have not recurred probably WOULD NOT have recurred anyway. And viceversa.

I for one will NEVER, EVER give up my Frozen Margaritas and Bloody Mary, or the truckload of Milky Ways and M&Ms I eat weekly, or the glazed donuts and funnel cakes and ballpark hotdogs with a bucket of melted cheese on them. NO WAY. And ovca be damned. I spent too many months on chemo during which I felt so rotten all I did was throw up, and I could not eat anything even though I was hungry, because it tasted horrible. And I promised myself that IF I was ever able to eat again I would NEVER deprive myself of anything I wanted to eat. The all-you-can-eat places in my town have a poster of me by the door that reads "Do not let her in. She will deplete the buffett."

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Haha... Helen your outlook is refreshing, I hope you're right. My mother has been a stubborn mule, driving me crazy. Her eating habits (as with me and the rest of our family) have been bad....we're all emotional/stress eaters.

But, aside from the days when she's on steroids, I can't get her to eat any type of animal protein which she definitely needs because of her ascites.... even if it's a small amount. She has always liked eggs, chicken, red meat, and tuna in the past... it's strange.

So then I tried peanut butter.. but she refused. And then I secretly added vanilla whey protein powder into her Ensure, which she learned about, then refused to drink it! I now think she's doing it just to fight me, that little pip... LOL.

Her four main staples have been bananas, mashed potatoes, ice cream and her favorite ziti from a local restaurant.... it's LOADED with cheese, and she's been eating it almost daily...even though it's a very small amount. There's protein there, but I'm concerned about the high-fat dairy, and studies about the links to OVCA...

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Hi Helen, I sooo agree with you and your friend.... I EAT WHATEVER I WANT. I have been told over and over by the onco doc and his NP and the people at radiation that people get all worked up over sugar thinking it will cause them to get cancer ...they said to eat whatever you want just like anyone else because if it were the food we ate that caused cancer nobody would be alive on the planet. LOL.
Love, Kim

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Good for you Helen! I love your attitude:) Keep it up and you are proof of the pudding...no pun intended (almost)
You are still an icon for remission here and the newbies should know that fact!

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What I wrote was written by a friend of mine but I have to agree with her. When I was diagnosed IIIc in 1987, I was so sick that I got down to 85 pounds. I had such a hard time keeping anything down. There was no Zofran, Aloxi or Emend. I had no appetite and it was difficult to know what I could keep down.
I personnally don't think what we eat effects our outcome.
Dx: May, 1987 IIIc
Recurrence: March, 1993
Last treatment: March, 1994

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People tend to focus on diet because it's one of the few factors that is under our control. Tinkering with my food intake gives me a sense of "doing something" and taking control, even if it's illusory.

Improving one's diet a little bit can't hurt. My sister, who is a breast cancer survivor, switched to organic foods after diagnosis and I did too. I find that they taste better and are fresher, and that's a good feeling. They're more expensive but I'm worth it. I will not buy food just because it's cheap any more, nor will I eat leftovers that seem a little old just to be frugal. I also had such a bad experience with not being able to taste food when I went through chemo and suffering with the nausea, that now I also prize good-tasting food. Life is too short to eat bad food or drink bad wine.

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I do agree with you. There is certainly nothing wrong with eating healthy food. My Mom will be 97 in March and she is very conscious of eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and meat that is low in fat. I brag about her but I am not very good about following her example.

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The disturbing trend I've noticed is that people who just eat nuts and berries and run for miles each day also die.

Just think of how many women on the Titanic passed over dessert that night to keep a trim waistline....life is short...eat while you're here.

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One of the healthiest woman I've ever known died from liver cancer. She was raised a vegetarian and was married to a homopathic doctor.

She went into the hospital with severe pain and died two days later. The doctor said that she was so healthy that that's why she didn't have symptoms until it was too late.

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The most potent anti cancer weapons by far are surgery and chemo. But I try to exclude inflammatory factors from my diet & eat healthily. Having said that, I had Krispy Creme donuts ydy. A treat every now and then...

Helen, you are an icon. I read every word you say very carefully. One thing I noted about your treatment was that you seem to have had more chemo than we usually get now. Thanks so much for being here.

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Helen I CANNOT thank you enough for posting this. I agree 150 percent here.
If I would have posted this I would have been lynched in here. so tytyty!
TOOO many people wind themselves over sugar etc, not me ,and all this crap people eat swallow and take cause they feel " it will keep them ned" is ridcilous
On the other hand if you love eating that way great, if not I think you should enjoy life
I wont give up my bacon toasted cream cheese baagels and pizza

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I agree, if you want to eat Milky Ways have at it!
Nobody can guarantee anything in this horrible disease.
But I also think this forum is open and supportive enough that those who want to eat in a different way should also be respected for that choice. It's not about thinking it cures cancer, but more about wanting to do what is right for the individual.

There is nothing like food to get people emotional, it is so near and dear to all of our hearts.

How about we all agree we eat what we want to eat without judgment on either side?


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This was posted Just in time as I have an appointment with a nutritionist. I have 3c and after surgery in Aug only made it thru 4 carbon/taxol treatments before being declared platin resistant. Now on doxil 1 treatment so far but my acites is increasing so going to nutritionist to see if diet can help. It is a very expensive plan and I can't afford to waste money if I am going to be mislead and just sold a bunch of supplements. Really could use some thoughts from this group.

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Thanks for the post. I read one study early in this cancer that showed a strong correlation with blood ambumin, a reflection of the state of nutrition, with survival, people with albumins that were in the upper range of normal had longer survivals. Mine was there.

So I make sure to eat 8 fruits/ veggies a day, eat protein and whatever else.

I don't think our diets got us here. Something caused our cells in the ovary to mutate and that is the crapshoot part of living. I think my burden is heavy enough without having to add stuff to my diet that tastes bad and has dubious effects.

Frankly I suspect atmospheric testing of bombs in the fifties with the clouds of st90 going around the world caused mine. But what the heck.

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I always ate well. I do not drink (maybe a wine now and then) I do not smoke, I love fruits and vegetavles, never ate too much meat. I still got cancer. Somtimes yiou just get it.

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I read somewhere that if my genetic status was a lake, what I eat is a tablespoon, as far as whether I would get cancer in the first place and how much effect either genetics or nutrition would have on that outcome. I hope I have explained that clearly--it's early here!

I am one who ate uber healthy for years before diagnosis, no sugar etc. So I am now having all the chocolate I want!

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Thank you, Helen. Very timely with all the Christmas goodies looming. :-)

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Love your post...when I was on chemo I ate whatever I wanted (like when your pregnant, except it is cancer and you have no ovaries :)

Now I do eat healthier at home and have switched to organic fruits and vegetables and dairy products, and avoid as many processed foods as possible.

We have to enjoy our life...I just was away for the weekend and was totally healthy, if that includes red velvet cupcakes w/ice cream, pina coloda, french fries, hamburger, pizza and M&Ms. When there is flying involved I can't worry about cancer :)

My oncologists' mantra is 'Enjoy your life!'

To all of my sisters out there - enjoy!

xo Barbara

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A healthy diet is good for many things beyond cancer. Poor eating habits will eventually catch up with you. Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, joint problems resulting from obesity...the list is long.

My philosophy is that it's a personal choice. I don't preach one way or another. I just know for me personally, I sure as hell do not want to add another disease to this one if I can help it (diabetes etc). I have enough on my plate already - no pun intended!

Of course, if overeating or eating crap makes you happy - that's great! We all know stress is a huge factor with cancer, so maybe comfort-eating is actually of benefit for some.

Live and let live :)

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chrystynh mentioned that I received more treatments than are given today. It was standard treatment in 1987 to receive 8 treatments of 3 chemo drugs for first line treatment. I guess they found that 6 was just as good aa 8 and 2 drugs for most people works as well as 3.
The CA125 was not accurate. It was a new test and was approved by the FDA in 1987, the year I was diagnosed. A CT scan was not accurate. Something had to be the size of a quarter to show up on a scan. It was standard procedure to do a second look surgery after completing first line treatment.
When I went in for my second look surgery, my CA125 was zero and yet some of the biopsies came back positive. My gyn/onc could not see any disease but I still had microscopic disease so I received 5 high dose IP treatments right after that second surgery.
When I had the recurrence in 1993, again they thought more was better than less and I received 12 treatments of IV Carboplatin once every 4 weeks.
As you said, at that time they thought more was better.

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It makes sense to me to eat healthy anyway. That being said, I don't think an occasional sweet thing or meat is going to hurt. I have been trying the Budwig diet and eating asparagus...I don't know if it will help but there are healthy diet proponents out there who have gone into remission and stayed that think it does. I don't want to make myself miserable with diet but figure healthier can help me with other conditions like diabetes, etc. Since I have sworn off sodas and drink lots of water my skin has changed dramatically so I think diet does do something. I believe in moderation. I don't drink alcohol either but that is because of my kidneys and reflux. Moderation is key I think in all things.

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