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Nutrition in Cancer Care (Patient) (cont.)

Nutrition and Lifestyle in Cancer Survivors

Cancer survivors have special nutrition needs.

Everyone needs a healthy diet and exercise for good health and to help prevent disease. Cancersurvivors have special health needs, especially because of the risks of late effects and the cancer coming back. Studies have shown that a healthy diet helps to prevent late effects such as obesity, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome. Researchers are also studying whether certain diet and exercise habits in cancer survivors can keep cancer from coming back or keep new cancers from forming.

Healthy diet and lifestyle habits can improve the quality of life for cancer survivors.

Surveys show that many cancer survivors do not follow cancer prevention guidelines and have lifestyle behaviors that may increase their risk for late effects or make late effects worse. Education programs can help cancer survivors learn how to make behavior changes that keep them healthier. Programs that cover diet, exercise, and stress management are more likely to help cancer survivors make lasting changes.

The effects of diet and lifestyle on cancer continue to be studied.

Nutrition in Cancer Prevention

Following certain dietary guidelines may help prevent cancer.

The American Cancer Society and the American Institute for Cancer Research both have dietary guidelines that may help prevent cancer. Their guidelines are a lot alike and include the following:

  • Eat a plant-based diet, with at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Have several servings a day of beans and grain products (such as cereals, breads, and pasta). Eat less meat.
  • Eat foods low in fat.
  • Eat foods low in salt.
  • Get to and stay at a healthy weight.
  • Be active for 30 minutes on most days of the week.
  • Drink few alcoholic drinks or don't drink at all.
  • Prepare and store food safely.
  • Do not use tobacco in any form.

The effect of soy on breast cancer and breast cancer prevention is being studied.

Study results include the following:

  • Some studies show that eating soy may decrease the risk of having breast cancer.
  • Taking soy supplements in the form of powders or pills has not been shown to prevent breast cancer.
  • Adding soy foods to the diet after being diagnosed with breast cancer has not been shown to keep the breast cancer from coming back.

Soy has substances in it that act like estrogen in the body. Studies were done to find out how soy affects breast cancer in patients who have tumors that need estrogen to grow. Some studies have shown that soy foods are safe for women with breast cancer when eaten in moderate amounts as part of a healthy diet.

If you are a breast cancer survivor be sure to check the most up-to-date information when deciding whether to include soy in your diet.

eMedicineHealth Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http://cancer.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Some material in CancerNet™ is from copyrighted publications of the respective copyright claimants. Users of CancerNet™ are referred to the publication data appearing in the bibliographic citations, as well as to the copyright notices appearing in the original publication, all of which are hereby incorporated by reference.






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