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J Clin Oncol. 2002 Aug 1;20(15):3302-16.

Nutrition and survival after the diagnosis of breast cancer: a review of the evidence.

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Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Dept. 901, University of California-San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0901, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Clin Oncol 2002 Sep 15;20(18):3939.



To review and summarize evidence from clinical and epidemiologic studies that have examined the relationship between nutritional factors, survival, and recurrence after the diagnosis of breast cancer.


Relevant clinical and epidemiologic studies were identified through a MEDLINE search. References of identified reports also were used to identify additional published articles for critical review.


Several nutritional factors modify the progression of disease and prognosis after the diagnosis of breast cancer. Overweight or obesity is associated with poorer prognosis in the majority of the studies that have examined this relationship. Treatment-related weight gain also may influence disease-free survival, reduce quality of life, and increase risk for comorbid conditions. Five of 12 studies that examined the relationship between dietary fat and survival found an inverse association, which was not evident on energy adjustment in most of these studies. The majority of the studies that examined intakes of vegetables or nutrients provided by vegetables and fruit found a direct [corrected] relationship with survival. Alcohol intake was not associated with survival in the majority of the studies that examined this relationship.


Much remains to be learned about the role of nutritional factors in survival after the diagnosis of breast cancer. Healthy weight control with an emphasis on exercise to preserve or increase lean muscle mass and a diet that includes nutrient-rich vegetables can be recommended. Diets that have adequate vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods and that are low in saturated fat may help to lower overall disease risk in this population.

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