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Diet, menopause and the risk of ovarian, endometrial and breast cancer

  • Yashvee Dunneram (a1), Darren C. Greenwood (a2) and Janet E. Cade (a1)


Menopause, the permanent cessation of the menstrual cycle, marks the end of a woman's reproductive lifespan. In addition to changes in sex hormone levels associated with menopause, its timing is another predictor of future health outcomes such as duration of the presence of vasomotor symptoms (VMS) and the risk of hormone-related cancers. With ageing of the population, it is estimated that worldwide 1·2 billion women will be menopausal by the year 2030. Previously the effects of reproductive factors (e.g. parity, age at menarche, pregnancy) and socio-demographic factors on intermediate and long-term health outcomes of menopause have been widely documented. However, little is known about whether diet could have an impact on these. Therefore, we review current evidence on the associations of diet with menopause, presence of VMS and the risk of hormone-related cancers such as ovarian, endometrial and breast cancer. Dietary factors could influence the lifespan of the ovaries and sex-hormones levels, hence the timing of natural menopause. Few studies reported an association between diet, in particular soya consumption, and a reduced risk of VMS. Sustained oestrogen exposure has been associated with a higher risk of hormone-related cancers and thus high-fat and meat diets have been linked with an increased risk of these cancers. However, to better understand the mechanistic pathways involved and to make stronger conclusions for these relationships, further studies investigating the associations of dietary intakes and dietary patterns with menopause, presence of VMS and the risk of hormone-related cancers are required.


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*Corresponding author: Yashvee Dunneram, email


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Diet, menopause and the risk of ovarian, endometrial and breast cancer

  • Yashvee Dunneram (a1), Darren C. Greenwood (a2) and Janet E. Cade (a1)


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