Nutritional Status of Breast Cancer Survivors 1 Year after Diagnosis: A Preliminary Analysis from the Malaysian Breast Cancer Survivorship Cohort Study

Hazreen Abd Majid, Low Phei Keow, Tania Islam, Tin Tin Su, Marie Cantwell, Nur Aishah Taib, MyBCC Study Group

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Background: Lifestyle factors, such as diet, body weight, and physical activity, are linked to better survival after breast cancer (BC) diagnosis. A high percentage of the Malaysian population is overweight or obese. In addition, studies have shown a disparity in survival among Malaysian women compared with other higher-income countries. The Malaysian Breast Cancer Survivorship Cohort (MyBCC) study aims to study lifestyle factors that affect survival in BC survivors. These are the preliminary findings on the nutritional status of Malaysian BC survivors. Objective: Our aim was to evaluate the nutritional status of BC survivors at 1 year after diagnosis. Design: This was a cross-sectional study of 194 participants from the MyBCC study, recruited within 1 year of their diagnosis. Participants completed a 3-day food diary. Participants: Malaysian women (aged 18 years and older) who were newly diagnosed with primary BC, managed at the University Malaya Medical Center, and able to converse either in Malay, English, or Mandarin were included. Main outcome measures: Dietary intake and prevalence of overweight or obesity among participants 1 year after diagnosis were measured. Statistical analyses performed: Student's t test and analysis of variance or its equivalent nonparametric test were used for association in continuous variables. Results: About 66% (n=129) of participants were overweight or obese and >45% (n=86) had high body fat percentage 1 year after diagnosis. The participants’ diets were low in fiber (median=8.7 g/day; interquartile range=7.2 g/day) and calcium (median=458 mg/day; interquartile range=252 mg/day). Ethnicity and educational attainment contributed to the differences in dietary intake among participants. Higher saturated fat and lower fiber intake were observed among Malay participants compared with other ethnic groups. Conclusions: Overweight and obesity were highly prevalent among BC survivors and suboptimal dietary intake was observed. Provision of an individualized medical nutrition therapy by a qualified dietitian is crucial as part of comprehensive BC survivorship care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-713
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast cancer
  • Dietary intake
  • Malaysian
  • Malaysian Breast Cancer Survivorship Cohort (MyBCC) study
  • Survivors

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