Associations of the dietary World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) recommendations with patient-reported outcomes in colorectal cancer survivors 2-10 years post-diagnosis: a cross-sectional analysis

Br J Nutr. 2021 May 28;125(10):1188-1200. doi: 10.1017/S0007114520003487. Epub 2020 Oct 22.


The World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) advise cancer survivors to follow their lifestyle recommendations for cancer prevention. Adhering to these recommendations may have beneficial effects on patient-reported outcomes after a cancer diagnosis, but evidence is scarce. We aimed to assess associations of the individual dietary WCRF/AICR recommendations regarding fruit and vegetables, fibre, fast foods, red and processed meat, sugar-sweetened drinks and alcohol consumption with patient-reported outcomes in colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors. Cross-sectional data of 150 stage I-III CRC survivors, 2-10 years post-diagnosis, were used. Dietary intake was measured by 7-d dietary records. Validated questionnaires were used to measure health-related quality of life (HRQoL), fatigue and neuropathy. Confounder-adjusted linear regression models were used to analyse associations of each WCRF/AICR dietary recommendation with patient-reported outcomes. Higher vegetable intake (per 50 g) was associated with better global QoL (β 2·6; 95 % CI 0·6, 4·7), better physical functioning (3·3; 1·2, 5·5) and lower levels of fatigue (-4·5; -7·6, -1·4). Higher fruit and vegetables intake (per 100 g) was associated with better physical functioning (3·2; 0·8, 5·5) and higher intake of energy-dense food (per 100 kJ/100 g) with worse physical functioning (-4·2; -7·1, -1·2). No associations of dietary recommendations with neuropathy were found. These findings suggest that adhering to specific dietary WCRF/AICR recommendations is associated with better HRQoL and less fatigue in CRC survivors. Although the recommendations regarding healthy dietary habits may be beneficial for the well-being of CRC survivors, longitudinal research is warranted to gain insight into the direction of associations.

Keywords: Colorectal cancer survivorship; Diet; Fatigue; Health-related quality of life; Lifestyle recommendations; Neuropathy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cancer Survivors*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Internationality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • United States
  • Vegetables