Often, people diagnosed with cancer make changes to their diet because they want to support their health. In this blog post, we’ll look at some of the types of food that we are asked about through our Ovacome support service, whether to eliminate or reduce consumption and the evidence around this.

The media sometimes report that certain foods are ‘cancer-fighting’ or increase the risk of particular cancers. So far, research hasn’t established a conclusive link between any particular food or diet and the risk of ovarian cancer (Ovarian cancer | World Cancer Research Fund International). The general advice for people diagnosed with cancer is to follow a healthy, balanced diet including vegetables, starchy foods, some dairy or dairy alternatives and healthy proteins such as lean meat, fish or eggs. If you would like individual advice about any dietary changes that could be helpful for you, you can ask your team. If necessary, you may be referred to a dietitian for specialist advice.

No conclusive evidence has been found that any dietary regime helps to shrink or stabilise cancer.

We'll be looking at some of the dietary changes that people diagnosed with cancer sometimes make and the evidence around them. We will explore vegetarian/vegan diets and soy, sugar and carbohydrates and intermittent fasting. If there are any topics that you would like us to cover in future posts, please let us know.

There is known to be a link between consumption of red and processed meats and the risk of bowel cancer (Diet | Reduce your risk | Bowel Cancer UK). There have also been media reports in the past suggesting that dairy products can increase the risk of cancer, but so far the evidence does not support this (Can milk and dairy products cause cancer? | Cancer Research UK).

Two specialist oncology dieticians gave a talk about diet and cancer at our 2018 Health and Wellbeing Day. You can download their presentation slides at Diet and nutrition | Ovacome. You can also find the NHS Eatwell Guide at The Eatwell Guide - NHS (www.nhs.uk).

Each person is different, and your dietary needs may also change as you go through and finish your treatment and after treatment ends.

For example, during chemotherapy you may eat differently if you have side effects such as nausea, mouth ulcers or taste changes. We wrote about this in our posts on managing the effects of chemotherapy at

In focus: managing the effects of chemotherapy ... - My Ovacome (healthunlocked.com)

and In focus: managing the effects of chemotherapy ... - My Ovacome (healthunlocked.com).

It’s important to take in enough calories during chemotherapy to maintain your energy levels. If there are some foods that are easier for you to eat your team may advise you to eat enough of what you can enjoy or tolerate rather than trying to eat foods that you feel you ‘should’ have.

If your blood tests show any deficiency, such as iron, you may be given supplements or advised to eat specific foods. If you have a stoma, it’s likely that certain foods will affect how it functions and you will find that you need to adapt your diet. Your stoma nurse will be able to give you advice about this.

If you would like to share your experiences of diet following an ovarian cancer diagnosis or have any tips on it, please comment on this post. If you would like information or support, please contact our Support Line on 07503 682 311 or 0800 008 7054 or email [email protected]