Dietary attitudes and changes as well as use of supplements and complementary therapies by Australian and Finnish women following the diagnosis of breast cancer.

Department of Radiotherapy and Oncology, University of Turku, Finland.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Impact Factor: 2.76). 01/2004; 58(1):137-44. DOI: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601760
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study investigated self-reported dietary attitudes and changes, and use of complementary approaches among breast cancer patients in relation to age, education and time since diagnosis.
Australian (ABC, N=215) and Finnish (FBC, N=139) breast cancer patients were surveyed at the university cancer centres with voluntary participation. Logistic regression models were used to adjust for differences in demographic patient characteristics between the groups. The influence of demographic variables was further studied separately or combined.
In all, 30% of FBC patients and 39% of ABC patients reported having changed their diet (P=0.033). Higher education, younger age and longer time from diagnosis were significantly associated with the probability of changes. The main changes reported included reduced consumption of animal fat, sugar and red meat, and increased consumption of fruits and vegetables. In all, 6% of ABC and 4% of FBC patients had stopped smoking and 24% of ABC and 27% of FBC patients reported to have increased their level of physical exercise. Choices were associated with age (P<0.007), length of the disease history (P <0.01) and level of education (P <0.002).
One-third of breast cancer patients surveyed reported to have changed their dietary habits. Both populations reported a need for dietary and lifestyle counselling. This need was experienced as poorly recognised by the physicians at present, and warrants future studies in dietary behaviour of breast cancer patients.

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