Journal List > J Nutr Health > v.46(3) > 1081294

Kim, Park, Chun, Lee, and Kim: Eating patterns and use of nutritional information in breast cancer survivors treated with radiation therapy in South Korea


The purposes of this study were 1) to investigate eating behaviors and patterns in breast cancer patients using a newly developed food frequency questionnaire and 2) to examine perception and use of nutritional information about breast cancer treatment among cancer patients treated with radiation therapy. Sixty breast cancer patients (case group) undergoing radiation therapy in Ajou University Hospital, Suwon, South Korea and 79 healthy women (control group) participated in this study. Mean age of subjects in the control group was 46.00 ± 7.88 years and BMI was 23.12 ± 2.85 kg/m2, and that of the case group was 50.06 ± 11.64 years and 22.32 ± 3.24 kg/m2. The results of eating behaviors showed several significant differences between control and case groups. Breast cancer patients ate meals on a more regular basis, on time, and more frequently compared to control subjects. In addition, they preferred more salty or spicy and bland food compared to healthy women. According to answers from the food frequency questionnaire, breast cancer patients consumed significantly lower amounts of boiled white rice, meats and processed food, fish and shellfish, coffee, milk, and cheese, whereas they consumed a significantly large amount of boiled multigrain rice, vegetable, seaweeds, soybean and processed food, and yoghurt compared to healthy women. This study also observed the way in which cancer patients and healthy control subjects obtain information about breast cancer treatment and its reliabilities. Results showed that healthy women did not hesitate to obtain information from mass media, while breast cancer patients would obtain nutritional information from specialists rather than mass media. Results of this survey confirmed that breast cancer patients avoided intake of red meat protein, even though they already recognized the importance of dietary protein intake for recuperation and treatment of the disease. These results could be used for future diet and nutrition guidelines for breast cancer patients.

Figures and Tables

Table 1
General characteristics of the subjects

1) p-value by t-test for continuous variables and p-value by Chi-square test for categorical variables 2) Mean ± Standard Deviation 3) Body Mass Index 4) n (%)

Table 2
Eating behaviors of the subjects (n (%))
Table 3
Simplified food frequency questionnaire for self-evaluation of eating patterns (n (%))
Table 4
Perception of food choice for treatment of breast cancer among breast cancer patients and healthy controls (n (%))
Table 5
Reliability and satisfaction of information source about breast cancer among breast cancer patients and healthy controls* (n (%))

*: Responders were able to select two or more information sources


This research was supported by the Sookmyung Women's University Research Grants 2012 and Brain Korea 21.


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