PHILADELPHIARadiation oncologists at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital are stressing the need for evidence-based, standardized guidelines on dietary recommendations for cancer patientsand with good reason. A new analysis revealed that online dietary recommendations for cancer patients, if even present on an institution's website, appear to be consistently inconsistent.
A review of all 21 of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) member institutions found that only four provided nutritional guidelines, with seven linking to external sites. What's more, many of the sites with recommendations contradicted each other.
The results were published online March 26 in Nutrition and Cancer: An International Journal.
Given that recent data reveals that dietary factors may influence outcomes in patients undergoing cancer treatment, and that over 60 percent of patients head to the Internet for guidance on diet, it's imperative that information is as accurate and uniform as possible, says senior author Colin Champ, M.D., a resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Jefferson .
"More and more patients are coming to their doctors and asking for nutritional recommendations before and after treatment, but there is really no standard direction to send them," said Dr. Champ. "So we started looking at sources where people may go to see what information they were digesting."
There were discrepancies. Half the information presented or linked to on NCCN sites contradicted the other half.
Half promoted a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet, and half promoted weight maintenance during treatment, endorsing a 1:1 ratio of carbohydrate to fat. Of the four external sites that provided nutrition guidelines, half favored a low-fat,
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Thomas Jefferson University