Dietary Changes and Its Impact on Quality of Life among Malay Breast and Gynaecological Cancer Survivors in Malaysia

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

1 Nutritional Sciences Programme, Center for Community Health Studies (ReaCH), Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz, 50300 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

2 School of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Gong Badak Campus, 21300 Kuala Nerus, Terengganu, Malaysia.

3 Dietetics Programme, Centre for Healthy Aging and Wellness (H-Care), School of Healthcare Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz, 50300 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Abstract

Objective: Fear of cancer recurrent, side effects of treatment and belief in food taboos encourage cancer survivors to make changes in their dietary practices after diagnosis of cancer. The objective of this study was to determine the impact of dietary changes on quality of life (QoL) among Malay breast and gynaecological cancer survivors. Methods: Questionnaire of dietary changes was modified from WHEL study and adapted to typical Malay’s food intake in Malaysia. A total of 23 items were listed and categorized by types of food and cooking methods.  Four categories of changes “increased”, “decreased”, “no changes” or “stopped” were used to determine the changes in dietary practices. Score one (+1) is given to positive changes by reference to WCRF/AICR and Malaysia Dietary Guideline healthy eating recommendations. Malay EORTC QLQ-C30 were used to determine the QoL. Sociodemographic, clinical characteristics and anthropometric measurement were also collected. Results: The mean age of the subjects (n=77) was 50.7±7.8 years old with duration of survivorship 4.0±3.1 years. Subjects mean BMI was 27.8±4.9 kg/m2 which indicate subjects were 31.2% overweight and 32.5% obese. The percentage score of positive dietary changes was 34.7±16.4%. Positive dietary changes were increased intake of green leafy vegetable (49.4%), cruciferous vegetable (46.8%) and boiling cooking methods (45.5%). Subjects reduced their intake of red meat (42.9%), sugar (53.2%) and fried cooking method (44.2%). Subjects stopped consuming milk (41.6%), c 2008-5862 heese (33.8%) and sweetened condensed milk (33.8%). With increasing positive dietary changes, there was a significant improvement on emotional function (rs=0.27; p=0.016) and reduced fatigue symptoms (rs=-0.24; p=0.033). Conclusion: Positive changes in dietary intake improved emotional function and reduced fatigue symptoms after cancer treatment. By knowing the trend of food changes after cancer treatment, enables the formation of healthy food intervention implemented more effective.

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