Postdiagnosis diet quality, the combination of diet quality and recreational physical activity, and prognosis after early-stage breast cancer

Cancer Causes Control. 2011 Apr;22(4):589-98. doi: 10.1007/s10552-011-9732-9. Epub 2011 Feb 22.


Objective: To investigate, among women with breast cancer, how postdiagnosis diet quality and the combination of diet quality and recreational physical activity are associated with prognosis.

Methods: This multiethnic, prospective observational cohort included 670 women diagnosed with local or regional breast cancer. Thirty months after diagnosis, women completed self-report assessments on diet and physical activity and were followed for 6 years. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals for death from any cause and breast cancer death.

Results: Women consuming better-quality diets, as defined by higher Healthy Eating Index-2005 scores, had a 60% reduced risk of death from any cause (HR(Q4:Q1): 0.40, 95% CI: 0.17, 0.94) and an 88% reduced risk of death from breast cancer (HR(Q4:Q1): 0.12, 95% CI: 0.02, 0.99). Compared with inactive survivors consuming poor-quality diets, survivors engaging in any recreational physical activity and consuming better-quality diets had an 89% reduced risk of death from any cause (HR: 0.11, 95% CI: 0.04, 0.36) and a 91% reduced risk of death from breast cancer (HR: 0.09, 95% CI: 0.01, 0.89). Associations observed were independent of obesity status.

Conclusion: Women diagnosed with localized or regional breast cancer may improve prognosis by adopting better-quality dietary patterns and regular recreational physical activity. Lifestyle interventions emphasizing postdiagnosis behavior changes are advisable in breast cancer survivors.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Carcinoma / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma / therapy*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet* / standards
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Prognosis
  • Quality Control
  • Quality of Life
  • Recreation / physiology*