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Foods That Fight Gynecologic Cancer

kale in a basket

The World Cancer Research Fund, along with the American Institute for Cancer Research, analyzed research on nutrition and its role in cancer, and published the “Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective."

The recommendations for the general public are as follows:

  • Be as lean as possible within the normal range of body weight.
  • Be physically active as part of everyday life.
  • Limit consumption of energy-dense foods.
  • Avoid sugary drinks.
  • Eat mostly foods of plant origin.
  • Limit intake of red meat and avoid processed meat.
  • Limit alcoholic drinks.
  • Limit consumption of salt.
  • Aim to meet nutritional needs through diet alone.

Their report analyzes the evidence by cancer type including three gynecological cancers.

Nutrition to Prevent Cervical Cancer

Specific to cervical cancer, there is some evidence that an intake of carrots may protect again cervical cancer. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research “The evidence, from case-control studies only, is sparse but consistent. There is limited evidence suggesting that carrots protect against cervical cancer.”

Additional sources of produce high in carotenoids include:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Kale and other greens
  • Papaya
  • Oranges
  • Sweet peppers
  • Tomatoes

Nutrition to Prevent Ovarian Cancer

For ovarian cancer, evidence suggests that consuming these non-starchy vegetables may decrease the risk of ovarian cancer:

  • Asparagus
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli

Nutrition to Prevent Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer

For endometrial cancer, a high percentage of body fat as well as weight gain in the adult years may increase the risk of endometrial cancer.

So clearly at the top on your priority is weight management - and just as your mother said "eat your vegetables."

The two work hand in hand as well as vegetables are a very high fiber, low calorie food which can provide cancer fighting compounds and assist with the feeling of fullness. Some easy ways to incorporate vegetables in your diet are:

  • Breakfast: Top your cereal off with berries or make a spinach omelet.
  • Lunch: Layer sandwiches with greens, tomatoes and cucumber. Have raw vegetables on the side instead of chips.
  • Dinner: always include a colorful salad and aim to fill half your dinner plate with non-starchy vegetables like steamed asparagus, broccoli and carrots.
  • Snacks: Try baby carrots, sugar snaps peas and sliced red peppers dipped into hummus.

Continue to follow this blog for more recipes with cancer-fighting properties.

Debra DeMille, MS, RD, CSO, is a nutritional counselor at the Abramson Cancer Center at Penn Medicine Pennsylvania Hospital. Dietitians at the Abramson Cancer Center provide educational programs about nutrition that are open to patients as well as the community. Cancer-fighting recipes on this blog are the product of the quarterly series "Cooking Nutritious and Delicious Foods," which promotes seasonal healthy foods with cancer-fighting properties.

About This Blog

The Focus on Cancer blog discusses a variety of cancer-related topics, including treatment advances, research efforts and clinical trials, nutrition, support groups, survivorship and patient stories.

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