Changes in dietary intake after diagnosis of breast cancer

Sharon J. Wayne, Susan T. Lopez, Lisa M. Butler, Kathy B. Baumgartner, Richard N. Baumgartner, Rachel Ballard-Barbash

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78 Citations (Scopus)


To quantify change in intake of kilocalories, macronutrients, and fruit and vegetable servings after diagnosis of breast cancer, and to correlate these changes with subject characteristics and with self-reported global change in dietary patterns. Food frequency questionnaires were completed by women newly diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after diagnosis. They were asked to recall intake 1 year before diagnosis. Two years after the initial interview another food frequency questionnaire was completed recalling intake during the previous year. At the 2-year follow-up interview women were also asked if they had changed their intake of fruit, vegetables, and fat since diagnosis. Two hundred sixty New Mexico women with newly diagnosed breast cancer between July 1997 and March 1999. Two-year change scores for kilocalories, macronutrients, and fruit and vegetable servings were calculated and tested for difference from zero using paired t tests or Wilcoxon signed rank tests. Subjects' characteristics were related to change in kilocalories and linear regression was used to determine the relative importance of these characteristics. Amount of change in fruit and vegetable servings and fat intake were calculated using food frequency data for women who reported increasing their intake of fruits and vegetables or decreasing their intake of fat after diagnosis. Small but significant decreases in intake of total energy and macronutrients were found 2 years postdiagnosis, with younger women reporting the greatest decreases. Fat as a percentage of diet increased over this period. There was no change in mean intake of fruit and vegetable servings. There is agreement between change as measured by food frequency questionnaire and change reported by more global questions on dietary habits; however, the amount of change measured was small. Women reporting an increase in fruit and vegetable intake postdiagnosis described an increase of one-quarter serving of fruit and one-third serving of vegetables per day. Breast cancer diagnosis results in modest dietary changes. Small changes in fruit and vegetable consumption suggest that efforts are needed to encourage increased consumption of these foods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1561-1568
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Oct 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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