Diet: The Importance of Nutrition

Making changes in the foods you eat during treatment and afterwards will have a positive impact on your overall health and wellness. Unfortunately there are no foods that can cure cancer or, but research does show that some foods and a healthy weight can reduce the risk of cancer. A healthy diet is clearly linked to a reduction in other types of diseases and conditions including Type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and arthritis.

Avoiding Fatty Foods and Obesity

Foods that have an impact on hormone levels in your body, specifically estrogen, can affect your risk of developing breast cancer. Obesity can increase the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women by app30%.The intake of saturated fats should be limited and replaced with unsaturated or polyunsaturated fats. A study of 2,437 breast cancer patients revealed that disease-free survival was greater in the group that limited saturated fat intake compared to the control group.2roximately

Nutritional Recommendations

The American Cancer Society recommends eating a healthy, balanced diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables and small amounts of lean protein.3 They do not state that any particular food will prevent or cure cancer. A well-balanced, healthy diet will generally provide a wide variety of foods for an individual to choose from. One study showed that a diet with high levels of dietary fiber, rich with whole grains, fruits and vegetables may help circulate estrogen throughout the body.4

It will also help promote colon health, potentially preventing colon cancer.

It is important to speak with your medical treatment team about your nutrition. You may be able to speak to a dietician or nutritionist who can help you create a diet that you can tolerate during treatment and after treatment.


1 Key, T. J., Allen, N. E., Spencer, E. A., & Travis, R. C. (2003). Nutrition and Breast Cancer. The Breast , 412-416.

2 Chlebowski, R. T., Blackburn, G. L., Thomson, C. A., et al. (2006). Dietary Fat Reduction and Breast Cancer Outcome: Interim Efficacy Results From the Women’s Intervention Nutrition Study. Journal of the National Cancer Institute , 1767-1776.

3 American Cancer Society. (2004). A Breast Cancer Journey: Your Personal Guidebook. Atlanta: American Cancer Society.

4 Aubertin-Leheudre, M., Hamalainen, E., & Aldercreutz, H. (2011). Diets and Hormonal Levels in Postmenopausal Women With or Without Breast Cancer. Nutrition and Cancer , 514-524.

This article was originally published on July 27,2012 and last revision and update of it was 9/2/2015.