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Nutrition education could prevent breast cancer reoccurrence

Posted:  Monday, January 12, 2015

In what could be described as an encouraging finding, nutrition education in breast cancer patients could be beneficial in preventing its reoccurrence.

The study findings were published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. The researchers of the study enrolled 18 patients in the intervention group and 75 patients in the control group. Over a year, the patients in the intervention group were given education about proper nutrition and were asked to record their food consumption on a calendar.

They were quizzed telephonically regarding their food consumption and were offered recommendations for improvement. Patients in the intervention group also attended meetings and received a monthly bulletin furthering their nutrition education. The main goals of the nutrition education were to reduce the patients' consumption of red and processed meat and increase fruit and vegetable intake.

The researchers selected these nutrition goals based on studies which showed that red meat could negatively impact cancer patients, whereas antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables can help reduce the aggravating effects of chemotherapy.

The researchers found that post nutrition education, consumption of red and processed meat was 50% lower in the intervention group in comparison to the control group. The consumption of fruits and vegetables in the intervention group was also higher in comparison to the control group. The researchers observed that the BMI of the intervention group did not record much changes compared to the control group which recorded a 3 time rise in BMI during the study.

The researchers attribute these findings to the lifestyle changes brought about by nutrition education in the intervention group. The lead author of the study Cecilia C. Schiavon said, "Although the sample size was small and data were collected at different times, this study provides evidence that women undergoing breast cancer treatment might benefit from immediate, individualized and detailed nutrition monitoring."

Nutritional awareness while making food choices and decisions has always been considered a good practice. Although the results of this study require further backing, one can practise good eating habits to steer clear or reduce the risk of many lifestyle conditions.

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