Diet, Nutrition and Exercise

Updated 
August 31, 2015

Most people know the importance of a well-balanced diet and regular exercise, but it can be challenging to always follow the best advice. Still, keeping a healthy weight and eating nutritious foods can help prevent illness and injury and improve your mood.

Studies show that keeping a healthy weight, eating a plant-based, whole-foods diet, and exercising at least 30 minutes every day lowers the chance of breast cancer coming back in early-stageinfo-icon disease. This kind of healthy lifestyle may also increase survival time.

During treatment, some side effects may make keeping a healthy lifestyle difficult:

  • Changes in taste or smell caused by chemotherapyinfo-icon may keep you from eating the foods you need or want
  • Fatigueinfo-icon, can make it hard to stay active
  • You might gain or lose weight because of certain treatments

Your treatment center may have registered dietitians, or RDs, to help you develop meal plans that meet your nutritional needs. They can discuss nutritioninfo-icon guidelines for people with cancer and address your dietary needs during and after treatment. If possible, seek out an RD who is a Certified Specialistinfo-icon in Oncologyinfo-icon, or CSO. To be certified, RDs must have practiced nutrition counselinginfo-icon in cancer settings and developed special knowledge.

Whether you use an RD or not, try to include healthy whole grains and legumes, like beans, in your diet for proteininfo-icon. Plant-based diets that include little or no meat also help. Avoid processed foods and fast foods because they tend to have high sugar, salt and fat, and fewer nutrients.

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Article August 31, 2015
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