Nutrition Practices among Adult Cancer Survivors Living on the Island of Ireland: A Cross-Sectional Study

Niamh O'Callaghan, Pauline Douglas, Laura Keaver

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Abstract

The purpose of this research was to explore the nutrition practices among post-treatment cancer survivors across Ireland. Cancer survivors aged 18+ years living across Ireland, who were not palliative and had completed active cancer treatment at least six months previous, were recruited to complete an online survey assessing dietary quality, food choice and satisfaction with food-related life as well as clinical and nutrition status. It was circulated by cancer support networks and on social media. Descriptive statistics are presented. The cohort (n = 170) was predominantly female (85.9%) and had breast cancer (64.7%). Mean age was 51.5 ± 10.9 years and 42.7% of the cohort were >five years post-treatment. Only 20% and 12% of the cohort had been assessed by a dietitian during and post-treatment, respectively. The mean dietary quality score was 10.3 ± 1.7, which was measured by the Leeds short-form food frequency questionnaire (SFFFQ). Using a 5-point Likert scale, the median satisfaction with food-related life score was 19 (3.3), which evaluates cognitive judgements on the person's food-related life. The food choice questionnaire (FCQ) assesses the relative importance of a range of factors related to dietary choice to individuals. The primary determinant of food choice in this cohort was the natural content (31.7%) followed by health (24.7%). Vitamin and mineral supplement use was reported by 69.8% of the cohort; the most consumed was Vitamin D. Four themes emerged from an optional open-ended question: awareness of nutritional importance; desire for specific nutritional advice and dietetic referral; cancer and treatment nutrition impacts were highlighted; as well as struggles with weight gain. This research provides useful insight into the nutrition practices of Irish cancer survivors. A desire and need for individualised and specific advice are evident.
Original languageEnglish
Article number767
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalNutrients
Volume14
Issue number4
Early online date11 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: Niamh O’Callaghan received an Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship (Project ID: GOIPG/2020/1385).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Adolescent
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Nutritional Status
  • cancer survivor
  • Adult
  • Cancer Survivors - psychology
  • Female
  • food choice
  • nutrition
  • diet quality
  • Middle Aged
  • supplement
  • Food choice
  • Nutrition
  • Supplement
  • Diet quality
  • Cancer survivor

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