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13.03.2022


Meta-study | Healthier diet after cancer increases chances of survival

If people who have survived cancer eat healthier, they reduce their risk of death in general. In this group, however, a healthier diet does not reduce the risk of dying specifically from cancer, a Spanish meta-study concludes.


Meta-study | Healthier diet after cancer increases chances of survival


Study
Carlota Castro-Espin and Antonio Agu, two Spanish oncologists affiliated with L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, collected studies on nutrition and cancer that have been published since 2011.

Ultimately, the researchers found 35 epidemiological studies that compared the dietary patterns of large groups of people with and without cancer, and 14 trials that assessed the effect of lifestyle changes on people with cancer.

Epidemiological studies are not always reliable, and that certainly applies to the cohort studies used by the Spaniards. These studies are based on completed questionnaires, so they are only as good as the memory and honesty of the study participants.

Incidentally, the definition of 'healthy food' was that of governments and large organisations: lots of fruit and vegetables, lots of fibre, few sugars... You know the drill.

The trials in this case were also a bit problematic. In many trials, the study participants not only started eating healthier, but also exercised a little more. The researchers were unable to separate the effects of the two.

Results
Nevertheless, the results of the meta-analysis are still interesting. The figures below are exclusively about women with breast cancer.

The first figure below shows that women who ate a healthy diet were 23 percent less likely to die than women who ate an unhealthy diet.


Meta-study | Healthier diet after cancer increases chances of survival


Meta-study | Healthier diet after cancer increases chances of survival


The second figure does not relate to the risk of death in general, but only to the risk of death as a result of breast cancer. There is a trend that healthy eating reduces the risk of dying from the disease, but it is inconclusive.

The researchers also looked at people with colon cancer and prostate cancer, and found the same phenomenon in those groups. The healthier the cancer survivors ate, the less likely they were to die. However, the researchers did not find any significant effects on the risk of death as a result of the disease.

Source:
Nutrients. 2022 Jan 14;14(2):348.

More:
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An apple a day helps to keep deadly cancer away 01.06.2021
4 nutrition tips to survive breast cancer 30.03.2021

Archives:
Cancer Prevention & Survival
Breast Cancer


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Surviving breast cancer with fewer & slower carbohydrates
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Omega-3 fatty acids protect against breast cancer. And if you already have breast cancer, they may slow the spread of the disease in the body.

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Okay, of course, one study doesn't say much. One study is no study. But this is a meta-study.