EFFECTS OF DIETARY MODIFICATIONS AND NUTRITIONAL INTERVENTIONS ON THE HEALTH STATUS OF BREAST CANCER PATIENTS
Fazia Ghaffar1, Nabila Javed2, Kalsoom Alam1
1Department of Food & Nutrition Sciences, College of Home Economics, University of Peshawar - Pakistan
2Department of Oncology, Institute of Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine (IRNUM), Peshawar - Pakistan
Objectives: To assess the effects of dietary modifications and nutritional intervention on the health status of adult
breast cancer patients.
Material & Methods: The study was conducted at Institute of Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine (IRNUM) Peshawar
from October 2013 to February 2014. Dietary intake of 131 breast cancer patients was assessed through a 7-days
recall method and Food Variety (FV) was assessed through a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. A variety
of socio-demographic parameters were studied. Mean nutrient intakes were calculated and the most common foods
consumed were identified. After initial screening the sample was divided into controlled and experimental groups based
on patients’ consent. Both of the groups were counseled for general guide lines of hygiene, balanced diet and were
psychological support, however, the experimental group received intensive counseling in nutrition, cooking methods,
stress and depression management with regular follow ups. As per patient symptoms and needs diets were modified
to liquids, purees, soft, low fiber or high fiber or focused nutrient diets.
Results: Upon the termination of the study the data showed illiteracy (70%), rural background (67.5%), extended
families (62.5%) and lower income level (57.5%) being the most important socio demographic contributory factors.
Significant improvement in energy intake (p=0.002), protein (p= 0.000), Vitamin C (p=0.001) iron (p=0.051) and
calcium (p=0.0025) in the experimental group from the pre test and from the control group was observed dietary and
nutritional interventions. The anthropometric indices for weight, BMI showed a healthy decline (p= 0.002 and p= 0.004
respectively) and an overall less significant but positive effects on blood indices the most obvious effect being on the
hemoglobin (p=0.004) as compared to the control group. The 3 to 5 meals in small portions proved to be beneficial
as compared to a three meals per day traditional pattern.
Conclusion: It can be concluded from the study that early assessment of nutritional status and effective nutritional care
and dietary modification help improve the overall well being of the patients.
Recommendations: The area of nutritional care shall be made a permanent feature of the patients’ care paradigms
Keywords: Nutrients, Intervention, Dietary modification, Anthropometric indices
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