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Nutrition in Cancer Care (PDQ®)

  • Last Modified: 06/24/2014

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Nutrition and Lifestyle in Cancer Survivors



Cancer survivors have special nutrition needs.

Everyone needs a healthy diet and exercise for good health and to help prevent disease. Cancer survivors have special health needs, especially because of the risks of late effects and the cancer coming back. Studies have shown that a healthy diet helps to prevent late effects such as obesity, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome. Researchers are also studying whether certain diet and exercise habits in cancer survivors can keep cancer from coming back or keep new cancers from forming.

Healthy diet and lifestyle habits can improve the quality of life for cancer survivors.

Surveys show that many cancer survivors do not follow cancer prevention guidelines and have lifestyle behaviors that may increase their risk for late effects or make late effects worse. Education programs can help cancer survivors learn how to make behavior changes that keep them healthier. Programs that cover diet, exercise, and stress management are more likely to help cancer survivors make lasting changes.

The effects of diet and lifestyle on cancer continue to be studied.