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Dietary interventions for cancer survivors

  • Sorrel Burden (a1) (a2) (a3), Jana Sremanakova (a1) (a3), Debra Jones (a1) (a3) and Chris Todd (a1) (a3)


This review evaluates evidence on dietary interventions for cancer survivors giving an overview of people's views and preferences for service attributes and provides a narrative review. After cancer, people often want to change their diet and there is a plethora of evidence why dietary optimisation would be beneficial. However, cancer survivors have different preferences about attributes of services including: place, person and communication mode. Randomised control trials have been reviewed to provide a narrative summary of evidence of dietary interventions. Most studies were on survivors of breast cancer, with a few on colorectal, prostate and gynaecological survivors. Telephone interventions were the most frequently reported means of providing advice and dietitians were most likely to communicate advice. Dietary assessment methods used were FFQ, food diaries and 24-h recalls. Dietary interventions were shown to increase intake of fruit and vegetables, dietary fibre, and improve diet quality in some studies but with contradictory findings in others. Telephone advice increased fruit and vegetable intake primarily in women with breast cancer and at some time points in people after colorectal cancer, but findings were inconsistent. Findings from mail interventions were contradictory, although diet quality improved in some studies. Web-based and group sessions had limited benefits. There is some evidence that dietary interventions improve diet quality and some aspects of nutritional intake in cancer survivors. However, due to contradictory findings between studies and cancer sites, short term follow-up and surrogate endpoints it is difficult to decipher the evidence base.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: S. Burden, fax +44 (0)161 276 8951, email


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