Nutrition support and intervention preferences of cancer survivors

Laura Keaver, Niamh O'Callaghan, Pauline Douglas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Introduction: Ascertaining cancer survivors’ specific needs and preferences regarding nutrition information delivery is important in developing and designing future health interventions in oncology. The present study aimed to explore the nutrition information needs of cancer survivors and their preferences regarding intervention delivery. Methods: The present study is a mixed-methods study comprising a cross-sectional survey and focus groups. Participants were eligible for inclusion if they were aged ≥ 18 years, living in Ireland with a cancer diagnosis and had completed treatment at least 6 months previously. Cancer support centres promoted the online survey on social media. Focus groups were conducted with 20 individuals. Results: The cohort (n = 56) was predominantly female (n = 50; 89.3%) breast cancer survivors (n = 42; 75%). Seven (12.5%) had received nutrition advice from a dietitian. Most were interested in receiving nutrition advice (n = 52; 92.9%), with variability in delivery mode. There was interest in improving sleep quality (n = 35; 62.5%), making positive lifestyle changes (n = 28; 50%) and accessing cancer-specific physical activity classes (n = 27; 48.2%). The best time to deliver information was throughout the cancer journey (n = 31; 55.4%). Time and motivation (n = 15; 26.8%) were the main barriers. Facilitators were keeping healthy (n = 42; 75%) and weight maintenance (n = 31; 55.4%). Four themes emerged from thematic analysis: lack of nutrition guidance, an abundance of misinformation, one size does not fit all and dietitians as the preferred source of advice. Conclusions: There is a desire for evidence-based nutrition advice and for dietitians to be integrated into cancer clinics and cancer survivorship care. This research guides future nutrition interventions to improve cancer survivorship outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-539
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
Issue number2
Early online date1 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished online - 1 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The British Dietetic Association Ltd.


  • oncology
  • nutrition
  • intervention


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