Dietary advice for prostate cancer patients: information sources used, range of advice offered and patient uptake: a questionnaire survey

By Jane Frank

Abstract

Title: Mrs

Surname: Frank

Forename(s): Jane Elizabeth

Institution: The Northern College of Acupuncture

Degree Sought: MSc

Title of Dissertation: Dietary advice for prostate cancer patients: information sources used, range of advice offered and patient uptake: a questionnaire survey


Summary:

Background: There are approximately 215,000 prostate cancer (PCa) survivors in the UK. Many patients alter their diet post-diagnosis, believing that if diet is an established causal factor, it may also influence risk of recurrence. Despite limited evidence for tertiary prevention, post-diagnostic dietary changes empower patients and may improve quality of life. Enquiry into men’s dietary self-management is a key research area, but few investigations have been undertaken hitherto.

Aims: The study aimed to determine how relevant dietary information reaches PCa patients post-diagnosis, and to establish whether this advice influences subsequent diet.

Methodology: A semi-structured questionnaire and 24-hour diet diary were mailed to 181 PCa survivors volunteering from the general population in the Welsh borders, local cancer charities and national PCa charities. Data were coded and entered into SPSS17 database software for subsequent analysis. Frequency distributions were determined and important associations between variables identified.

Results: The 130 respondents (72% response rate) were of mean age 69.5 years (range 45-90 years). Dietary advice at diagnosis mainly via health professionals was recalled by 34 respondents, 23 of whom sought further information. A further 63 not advised sought information independently. Active information-seeking was significantly associated with claims of positive dietary changes post-diagnosis (P<0.001). These dietary changes were significantly associated (P<0.001) with reported consumption of a more beneficial diet according to the 24-hour diet diaries and more often involved recruits from national charities and those on hormone therapy.

Conclusion: This exploratory study determined how relevant dietary advice reaches PCa diagnosed patients. It explores, for the first time, the positive link between health information-seeking and subsequent diet, and underlines the importance of empowering, rather than instructing, patients. This pilot helps to prepare the ground for future research into ways to encourage PCa survivors to adopt dietary self-management to improve health and possibly reduce risk of recurrence.