Dietary recommendations during and after cancer treatment: Consistently inconsistent?

Colin E. Champ, Mark V. Mishra, Timothy N. Showalter, Nitin Ohri, Adam P. Dicker, Nicole L. Simone

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Recent data reveals that dietary factors may influence outcomes in patients undergoing cancer treatment. However, patient-centered information on dietary recommendations is limited. In this study, we assessed dietary recommendations for cancer patients during treatment and survivorship by evaluating the websites of all National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) member institutions. NCCN members were identified on, and individual websites were reviewed for nutritional content. Recommendations were categorized by meal frequency, diet type, macronutrient content, and other specific recommendations. Twenty-one NCCN member institutions were identified. Only 4 sites (19%) provided nutritional guidelines. Half promoted a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet recommending 5:1 and 7:1 ratios of carbohydrate to fat food types, and half promoted weight maintenance during treatment, endorsing a 1:1 ratio of carbohydrate to fat. One third of all NCCN sites (n = 7) had links to 9 external websites. Four external sites provided nutrition guidelines: half favored a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet, and half favored high-caloric intake to maintain weight. Consistent online dietary recommendations are lacking for patients during and after cancer treatment. Given the lack of consensus on dietary recommendations, future research is warranted to develop evidenced-based guidelines that can be used by oncologists and patients alike.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)430-439
Number of pages10
JournalNutrition and cancer
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Oncology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Cancer Research


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