Nutrition guidelines for cancer patients need to be better developed
Dietitians are calling for research that will fill in the gaps left by current nutrition recommendations for preventing cancer recurrence and managing chronic conditions prevalent in cancer survivors.
According to their commentary in Journal of the American Dietetic Association (2011;111:368-375), Kim Robien, PhD, RD, and two PhD/RD colleagues, data support the hypothesis that nutrition interventions can help with cancer outcomes as well as chronic health conditions that follow treatment, such as cardiovascular problems, diabetes, weight gain, and osteoporosis.
“As the number of cancer survivors continues to increase, opportunities to conduct longer-term research are expanding,” noted Dr. Robien—of the Masonic Cancer Center at University of Minnesota, Minneapolis—in a separate statement.
In the commentary, the authors discuss current nutritional recommendations for cancer survivors, and suggest more research into dietary interventions that can help manage comorbidities, improve quality of life, and reduce health care costs. Another area of investigation involves whether some cancers require specific nutritional guidelines.
Dr. Robien's team also indicates that few cancer survivors are following diet and lifestyle recommendations for cancer prevention put forth by the American Cancer Society and the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research. The authors believe that more research is needed to determine the best method and timing to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors among these patients.