Making Food Choices During Breast Cancer Treatment


Food plays a vital role in our health. For those diagnosed with breast cancer, choosing the right diet can significantly support overall well-being and aid in the recovery process. It’s crucial to understand that good dietary choices may help improve symptoms and impact your overall quality of life.

Breast cancer is unique to each individual, and there are various subtypes of the disease. Treatment plans can also differ from case to case. For these reasons, there is no one-size-fits-all diet for everyone. Rather, you can work with your healthcare team to determine the right food choices for your situation.

As an oncology pharmacist, I’m sharing steps to consider when making food choices during your experience with breast cancer. While this information will help you understand a general approach for your nutrition, it’s strongly recommended that you consult a registered dietitian with oncology expertise for personalized advice.

Here are some suggestions for how to get started:

1. Understand Your Unique Diagnosis:

Determine your breast cancer subtype. Your subtype is typically included on pathology reports and other documents from your doctor. Confirm this by asking your doctor directly if you’re unsure. Breast cancer subtypes are different from one another and each subtype has unique dietary recommendations. Research the dietary guidelines relevant to your breast cancer subtype, and ask your dietician for their recommendations.

2. Consider Your Comorbidities:

If you have pre-existing health conditions like hypertension, diabetes, obesity, or any others, it can influence the food choices you make during your breast cancer experience. This is because these conditions can interact with your dietary needs and considerations. Make sure your oncologist is informed when you make significant dietary changes. Provide your dietitian with information about any other conditions when creating your customized meal plan

3. Understand Your Treatment Plan:

Confirm your treatment plan with your oncology team: surgery, radiation, or medication-based approaches like chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, or hormonal treatment. Each treatment has dietary considerations and guidelines, indicating what’s suitable and what to avoid during treatment.