|Abstract:||Background: With advances in breast cancer detection and treatment, survivors now have a 5-year survival rate > 90%. This has led to a shift in focus to improving not only survival, but also health-related quality of life (HR-QoL) after diagnosis, including physical, social, emotional, functional, and general well-being. High fruit and vegetable (FV) intake may improve HR-QoL, possibly through anti-inflammatory mechanisms, but previous research findings are mixed. The purpose of this study was to determine how FV intake is associated with HR-QoL among breast cancer survivors.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional pilot study of 82 breast cancer survivors who completed an online survey disseminated through breast cancer support groups. Participants completed the NIH dietary screener questionnaire (DSQ), which was used to estimate average daily servings of FV intake. The Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast Cancer (FACT-B) was used to assess HR-QoL. Scores for overall HR-QoL, as well as for individual subscales of physical, social/family, emotional, and functional QoL, were computed. Covariates included self-reported age, body mass index (BMI), cancer stage, and income. Total daily servings of FV were categorized into above and below median of intake (< 2 Cups FV/day and ≥2 Cups FV/day) and examined in multivariable linear regression models to evaluate their relationship with overall and subscale-specific HR-QoL scores.
Results: After controlling for age, BMI, disease stage, and income, there were no significant associations observed between total FV intake and overall or subscale-specific HR-QoL scores.
Conclusion: FV intake was not associated with HR-QoL in this breast cancer survivor population. The small sample size may have lacked adequate power to detect a significant association. Further research to understand how diet quality may influence HR-QoL in breast cancer survivors is needed.