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Diet Changes and Underlying Motives in Cancer Patients

Alexandra Schmid, Viktoria Mathies, Jens Buentzel, Christian Keinki,
Published: 5 October 2021

Abstract: With rising cancer incidence rates and numbers of long-term cancer survivors, diet increasingly comes into view of patients as well as healthcare providers. The aim was to analyze cancer patients’ concepts of nutrition, changes in diet and reasons for these changes. This study is a cross-sectional single-center study. Data was collected 12/2017 − 01/2019 using a questionnaire. The study was set at an outpatient department at a German university hospital. 102 patients (male n = 47, female n = 54; age 34 to 86 years [mean = 62.3]) with cancer were included in the study. Statistical calculation was performed with Mann-Whitney-U-Test and Wilcoxon-signed-rank. p < 0.05 was considered significant. Patients were more concerned with diet after their diagnosis than before (p < 0.01). Seventy-one (70%) patients reported that they changed their diet or planned to do so. Some changes included an increased intake of vegetables or fruits. Patients who changed their diet more often were convinced that there was a positive influence of diet on the course of cancer (p < 0.05). Diet is an important topic for many cancer patients. Some patients seem to have a lack of information regarding the effect of diet on health. Physicians and dietitians should provide more education on healthy and safe diets for cancer patients.
Keywords: cancer patients / changed their diet / changes / provide / considered significant / Statistical calculation / center study

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