FOLATE & OVARIAN CANCER

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Among women who consume more than two alcoholic beverages a week, a diet low in folate may raise the risk of ovarian cancer, according to a Swedish study of more than 61,000 women. (Folate wasn't linked to ovarian cancer in women who drink less.)

Those who got at least 200 micrograms (mcg) a day of folate from their food had a 75 percent lower risk of ovarian cancer than those who got less than 155 mcg a day. Low folate intakes are more common in Sweden than in the U.S., where white flour is fortified with folate (folic acid).

In an unrelated study, researchers found that 43 percent of women who went on to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer showed a combination of three symptoms--bloating, increased abdominal size, and urinary urgency--compared to only eight percent of women who received a different diagnosis.

What to do: Take a multivitamin to make sure you get at least 400 mcg of folic acid a day. See your doctor if you have suspicious abdominal symptoms, especially if they are frequent.

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