Relationship between food perceptions and health-related quality of life in a prospective study with breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy






OBJECTIVE: To correlate the perceptions related to dietary intake with the domains and subscales of health-related quality of life (HRQL) in women with breast neoplasms receiving chemotherapy. METHODS: In this prospective study, 55 women with breast cancer were followed up during chemotherapy at three different times (T0, T1, T2). Before chemotherapy, perceptions related to food consumption were evaluated. HRQL was analyzed with the EORTC QLQ-C30 and Br23 instruments 21 days after each investigated cycle. The differences (T2-T0) in the subscales and HRQL domains were correlated with the differences (T2-T0) in the appetite scores. Spearman’s correlation was used to verify a possible correlation between differences in functional and overall HRQL domains (T2-T0) and differences in appetite scores for certain foods and between the differences in some subscales of EORTC QLQ-C30 and Br23 (T2-T0) and differences in appetite scores for certain food groups (T2-T0). RESULTS: Correlations between pain and appetite for bitter taste and between an increased appetite for juices and pain intensification or fatigue were identified, and pain was correlated with an appetite for starchy foods. An appetite for vegetables, legumes and meat/eggs was correlated with physical function. The only significant correlation with social functions occurred between the appetite for sweet foods and these functions. We found a correlation between overall health, emotional function, social function and physical function and the appetite for juices. CONCLUSION: Chemotherapy alters the individual’s relationship with food and, consequently, the individual’s HRQL.

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