Dr Oz: Ovarian Cancer is the Silent Killer of Women
Dr. Oz opened up his show today with the kind of question that will stop you in your tracks and grab your attention immediately. He asked What’s your Risk of Dying from Cancer? It kind of leaves a lump in your throat, but have you ever thought about that? I’ll admit that every time I think about it, which is every now and then, I get a little worried, but then I wonder what I can do to lower my risk so I can be around for my family as long as possible. On today’s show, Your Biggest Cancer Risks: Dr. Oz’s Biggest Solutions, Doctor Oz is talking about the most undiagnosed cancers as well as the deadliest ones, so you can have all the information you need to protect your body and lower your risk of dying from cancer. Know your ovarian cancer risk factors.
Dr Oz: Overweight Ovarian Cancer Risk
Dr. Oz says that by the time most women realize they have ovarian cancer, it is usually too late and they don’t survive. Startling new studies have shown a direct link with being overweight and how it increases your risk of getting Ovarian Cancer, especially when you have excess fat around the waist, which has been found to actually feed tumors. When you add stress and increased estrogen, cancer can get out of control.
Dr. Kate Wolin explains that as a doctor she gets concerned with patients who are at least 25 pounds overweight because that amount of added pounds increases a woman’s risk of being diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. She says studies have shown that the more overweight you are, the higher your risk of getting cancer, but even worse is that your risk of dying from cancer increases by 25% when you are overweight. Dr. Oz adds how very sad this is when it is something that can so easily be changed.
Dr Oz: Reduce Ovarian Cancer Risk with Smaller Waist and Lower BMI
Dr. Wolin says that while all fat on the body increases your risk for cancer, fat around the waist causes a higher risk. She says that the ideal size for a woman’s waist is 32 inches with a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 25 or less in order for her risk of Ovarian Cancer to be lowered.
Dr Oz: Birth Control Pills Reduce Ovarian Cancer
Would it surprise you to hear that your risk for Ovarian Cancer is increased if you never took birth control pills or if you have never had children? This one definitely surprises, but Dr. Oz says it is all related to hormones. Dr. Diljeet Singh, a Gynecologic Oncologist explains that doctors believe that Ovarian Cancer is related to ovulation and cell damage that happens because there is a tear in the ovary with each ovulation, plus estrogen that helps the cancer to grow and stimulates the growth a little bit.
She says that progesterone, which is the main component in birth control pills, can actually get rid of damaged cells. She conducted a five-year study of the effects of birth control pills and says that this number of years shows a dramatic decrease in damage at 50%, but she recommends patients take birth control pills as long possible because the longer you take them, the more benefit they offer.
Progesterone During Pregnancy Helps to Lower Ovarian Cancer Risk
Dr. Diljeet says that women who have never had children are at an increased risk of getting Ovarian Cancer because of reasons very similar to those of women who have never taken birth control pills. She says that pregnancy is a time when the ovaries sort of shut down and aren’t ovulating creating that tearing and need for repair that happens when a woman is not pregnant.
She goes on to explain that progesterone levels are very high during pregnancy, which helps to get rid of damaged cells. The more children a woman has actually reduces her risk even more, along with breast feeding.
Dr Oz Ovarian Cancer: Lower Dairy Intake to 10 Grams Per Day
What if there was a certain type of food that could be toxic to your ovaries and increasing your risk for Ovarian Cancer? Would you stop eating that type of food altogether in order to lower your risk? Studies have shown that dairy products can increase your risk of having Ovarian Cancer. Dr. Kate Wolin says there is about a 25% increased risk of Ovarian Cancer in women who consume more than 30 grams of lactose a day. Dr. Oz says this equates to about 3 servings of dairy a day and he gives a few examples of that looks like:
- 10 grams=1 glass of milk
- 10 grams=1 serving of frozen yogurt
- 10 grams=1 serving of cream of mushroom soup
Dr. Wolin is not saying we should never eat dairy every again because it has an important role in our diet, so she recommends no more than 10 grams of lactose per day. You can substitute with things like soy or almond milk, maybe soy cheese in place of dairy cheese. She says to just cut back on your intake of dairy every day for a lower risk of Ovarian Cancer.
Dr Oz: Reduce Risk for Ovarian Cancer by Laughing More
We all have stress, right? From stress related to family, work, and money, I doubt there is any woman who can says she has no stress in her life at all. Dr. Diljeet Singh says there is no specific amount of stress that raises the risk for Ovarian Cancer, but she does know that we spend about 60-80% of our waking time in that fight or flight mode, that time of heightened stress level. Because of this, she says that stress is something that makes all women at higher risk for Ovarian Cancer, so while she knows we can’t eliminate stress, she often recommends some ways to reduce stress like laughing (watching funny TV), praying, exercising, and meditating.
Dr Oz: Ovarian Cancer Family History
Dr. Singh says that we know that 10-15% of Ovarian Cancer is definitely related to a family history. She says that if you have Breast Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, or Colon Cancer in your family history then you are at an increased risk yourself. Dr. Singh notes that it is important to remember we get genes from both of our parents, so looking at both sides of our family history is important. Dr. Oz says the holidays are a great time to learn about your family history and ask a lot of questions because not only is the information important to your health, but it can also lead to some fun stories being shared.