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Nutrition and Breast Cancer

Did you know that by adjusting your nutrition you can feel better and stay stronger during breast cancer treatment ?

Breast Cancer SurvivorBoth cancer and cancer treatment can affect your appetite, your ability to tolerate foods, and your body’s ability to utilize nutrients.

By having a Dietitian on your treatment team, you’ll be better prepared to cope with side effects and meet your nutrition needs during this difficult time.

Weight Management

Some cancer treatments can cause weight loss while others can cause weight gain.

Weight loss may be due to a loss of appetite and/or an inability to tolerate food, while weight gain may be related to fluid retention, increased appetite and/or decreased physical activity. If cancer treatment is making it difficult for you to manage your weight, ask a Dietitian to join your treatment team. You won’t regret it!


If you have estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer you may need to modify the amount of soy in your diet. The role of soy in breast cancer is uncertain so talk to your oncologist before making any changes. A Dietitian can help you adjust your nutrition to include the appropriate amount of soy based on your oncologist’s recommendations.

Complementary and Alternative Treatments

Many herbs and other supplements are marketedHand holding medicine bottle to people who are going through breast cancer treatment. Always talk to your oncologist before adding any herbs or supplements to your treatment regimen. Some herbs and supplements can cause harmful side effects and interfere with proven cancer treatments such as hormonal therapy, chemo and radiation.

For a detailed description of herbs and supplements and any evidence supporting their effectiveness and safety visit http://nccam.nih.gov/health/atoz.htm. Your oncologist and Dietitian can help you sort through this information and make an informed decision about what is right for you.

Are You Looking for Expert Nutrition Advice?

A \Dietitian can help you adjust your nutrition to support your treatments for breast cancer. Click here to search for an MFN Dietitian who specializes in nutrition for breast cancer and/or weight management.


American Cancer Society (2012). Nutrition for the Person with Cancer During Treatment: A Guide for Patients and Families. Retrieved November 4, 2013, http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/002903-pdf.pdf.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2012). Herbs at a Glance: Soy. Retrieved January 3, 2014, http://nccam.nih.gov/sites/nccam.nih.gov/files/Herbs_At_A_Glance_Soy_06-19-2012_0.pdf.
Sizer, F.S. and Whitney, E. (2014). Nutrition Concepts and Controversies (13th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

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