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Many Cancer Survivors Eat Poorly

Posted 10/16/2015

Posted in

  Yes, this is a second blog today. I did not write on Monday due to the horrible internet connection in Maine, and therefore have owed you one this week. (although I suspect that no one, except me, is keeping track)

  This study, as reported in Consumer Health Day, surprised me. It suggests that many cancer survivors eat poor diets, maybe even worse than the average non-cancer survivor. The researchers did not look at whether these same people ate the same poor diets prior to cancer, so it may be that their food habits just didn't change. Certainly many people become hyper attentive to food and make changes after diagnosis, but many of those changes don't last.

  It may also be that people who have had cancer feel that they deserve some treats. It may be that finances are a part of these decisions; it costs more to eat organic produce and "to shop around the edges of the store" as we are advised to do.

  Here it is; draw your own conclusions:

Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Oct. 13, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- One might expect cancer survivors to be fanatically healthy eaters, but a new study suggests they eat a little worse than people who never had cancer.

Survey results from more than 1,500 U.S. adult cancer survivors found they were less likely than others to adhere to national dietary guidelines. The findings raise questions about whether oncologists should do more to educate cancer patients about the health benefits of improving their diets.

"In the past, when a person was diagnosed with cancer, we kind of gave the message that they should go home, eat whatever they want, put their feet up," said study co-author Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, a nutrition scientist and associate director at University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"But most people with cancer are going to survive their cancer at least five years," she added. "The message has changed: The chances are you are going to survive."

With survival, she said, comes greater risk of a return of cancer or some other diseases. But better nutrition could potentially improve their odds, Demark-Wahnefried said.

Unhealthy diets have been linked to higher rates of cancer. The research doesn't clarify why the diets of cancer survivors are unhealthier, and it's possible they actually began to eat better after they became ill.


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