According to MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine from the National Institutes of Health, the cause of ovarian cancer is not yet known. Often no symptoms are evident until ovarian cancer is well-advanced. Sometimes there are no indicators in the early stages.
Possible symptoms are abnormal periods, back pain or pain in the lower abdomen. A woman may experience a feeling of heaviness in the pelvic region, nausea or vomiting, vaginal bleeding. She may be subject to unexplained weight gain or loss.
Ovarian cancer is more common in women past the age of 50 though it can occur in younger women. According to Medline Plus, the usual treatment is surgery and chemotherapy treatments.
A July 10, 2011 article from Sciencelatest.com reported, omega-3 essential fatty acids from fish oil may assist in preventing and treating ovarian cancer.
Diabeteslibrary.org has reported, flaxseed may help prevent ovarian cancer. This report was based on an interview with Katherine Tallmadge, M.A., R.D., who is a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
Flaxseed contains alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 essential fatty acid. Its protective benefits against ovarian cancer seem to be a result of its abundance of plant lignans which are both fiber and phytoestrogens. The National Academy of Sciences urges women to take 1.1 grams of alpha-linolenic acid every day.
Only some of the alpha-linolenic acid in flaxseed can be converted into docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which are also omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil is more effective in this respect than flaxseed.
But Walter Willett, M.D., advocates taking fish oil and flax to reap full benefits of both. Willett is chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
A May 11, 2011 article on Sciencedaily.com reported on research done using chickens and flaxseed in the study of ovarian cancer. The University of Illinois Department of Animal Sciences found that ovarian cancer in hens became less severe and survival rate increased when the hens were fed a diet including flaxseed.
Hens on this diet for a year did not have a decrease in the occurrence of ovarian cancer, but they had a decrease in late-stage ovarian tumors. The hens' tumors were generally found only in the ovaries, and were less likely to spread through their bodies.
Ovarian cancer is diagnosed in about 25,000 women in the U.S. every year, with 15,000 of these cases ending in death. Prospects are not good for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer since the cancer is usually discovered in its late stages, having metastasized and spread through the body.
These findings about omega-3 fatty acids offer hope of more effective treatment in future.
This research was funded by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Grant, an American Institute for Cancer Research Grant, and an NIH Training Grant. It was published in Gynecologic Oncology.
9 Omega-3 Fish Oil Benefits Established Through Scientific tests
The Many Benefits of Omega-3's
Flaxseed-Fed Chickens Shed Light On Ovarian Cancer
Reviewed August 1, 2011
by Michele Blackberg R.N.
Edited by Shannon Koehle
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