Dietary recommendations during and after cancer treatment: consistently inconsistent?
ABSTRACT Recent data reveals that dietary factors may influence outcomes in patients undergoing cancer treatment. However, patient-centered information on dietary recommendations is limited. In this study, we assessed dietary recommendations for cancer patients during treatment and survivorship by evaluating the websites of all National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) member institutions. NCCN members were identified on www.nccn.org , and individual websites were reviewed for nutritional content. Recommendations were categorized by meal frequency, diet type, macronutrient content, and other specific recommendations. Twenty-one NCCN member institutions were identified. Only 4 sites (19%) provided nutritional guidelines. Half promoted a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet recommending 5:1 and 7:1 ratios of carbohydrate to fat food types, and half promoted weight maintenance during treatment, endorsing a 1:1 ratio of carbohydrate to fat. One third of all NCCN sites (n = 7) had links to 9 external websites. Four external sites provided nutrition guidelines: half favored a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet, and half favored high-caloric intake to maintain weight. Consistent online dietary recommendations are lacking for patients during and after cancer treatment. Given the lack of consensus on dietary recommendations, future research is warranted to develop evidenced-based guidelines that can be used by oncologists and patients alike.
Canadian Medical Association Journal 07/2014; 186(14). DOI:10.1503/cmaj.131402 · 5.81 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Head and neck cancers (HNCs) are aggressive tumors that typically demonstrate a high glycolytic rate, which results in resistance to cytotoxic therapy and poor prognosis. Due to their location these tumors specifically impair food intake and quality of life, so that prevention of weight loss through nutrition support becomes an important treatment goal. Dietary restriction of carbohydrates (CHOs) and their replacement with fat, mostly in form of a ketogenic diet (KD), have been suggested to accommodate for both the altered tumor cell metabolism and cancer-associated weight loss. In this review, I present three specific rationales for CHO restriction and nutritional ketosis as supportive treatment options for the HNC patient. These are (1) targeting the origin and specific aspects of tumor glycolysis; (2) protecting normal tissue from but sensitizing tumor tissue to radiation- and chemotherapy induced cell kill; (3) supporting body and muscle mass maintenance. While most of these benefits of CHO restriction apply to cancer in general, specific aspects of implementation are discussed in relation to HNC patients. While CHO restriction seems feasible in HNC patients the available evidence indicates that its role may extend beyond fighting malnutrition to fighting HNC itself.