|dc.description.abstract||Background: In 2015, 3292 New Zealand women were diagnosed with breast cancer. A breast cancer diagnosis tends to evoke lifestyle change and in particular dietary change. There is a substantial amount of research about the potential causes of breast cancer and dietary risk factors, but less on diet during breast cancer treatment and even less on what women are consuming post treatment completion. There can be lasting impacts from treatment including poor nutrient intake, unwanted weight change and undesirable weight changes. These affect nutritional status and possibly recurrence risk. To date, the guidelines for what breast cancer survivors should consume post treatment are based on limited, but suggestive evidence for reducing the risk of recurrence. There is a lack of research on dietary habits in women with breast cancer in this country. In order to potentially influence lifestyle changes, it is important that breast cancer survivors have their actual diet documented.
Objective: The aim of this thesis is to describe the diet in breast cancer survivors and compare it to recommendations and guidelines. This will guide further research in this area, here in New Zealand and potentially aid the production of specific national dietary recommendations for breast cancer survivors.
Design: This is a descriptive pilot study of women participating in the EXPINKT™ programme in Dunedin who completed breast cancer treatment at least six weeks prior. Participants received a questionnaire including a section on characteristics and a Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ), measuring dietary intake for the preceding three months.
Results: The questionnaire was returned by 35 women. Nutrient intakes derived from the FFQ were slightly higher than that of the New Zealand women population of the same age group. The cohort did not meet the Ministry of Health recommendations for the food groups of vegetables, meat, poultry and seafood as well as breads and cereals. There were no meaningful differences for any nutrients between treatments, although of the women who received either chemotherapy or hormone therapy, nutrient intakes tended to be higher than those women who did not receive that treatment. There were meaningful differences for protein 22.8 g (95 % CI: 1.64, 43.9), riboflavin 0.88 mg (95 % CI: 0.11, 1.64), folate 162 µg (95 % CI: 22.4, 301), calcium 587 mg (95 % CI: 99.7, 1074), zinc 3.21 mg (95 % CI: 0.23, 6.20) and potassium 1153 mg (95 % CI: 85.7, 2220) in women that were diagnosed prior to 2013 as their confidence intervals did not cross zero. Education level and body mass index status had no association with nutrient intake, although a lack of tertiary education was associated with a lower intake of all food groups.
Conclusion: Dunedin breast cancer survivors who participate in the EXPINKT™ programme do not meet the Ministry of Health’s food group recommendations for vegetables, meats and breads and cereals. To prevent the negative outcomes that may occur, there is a need for nutritional guidance in this population, particularly in New Zealand. Continued research is needed in order to determine what foods can reduce recurrence risk and what may increase it.||