Watch Neuroendocrine Cancer Dietitian, Tara Whyand, talk about “Mythbusting and Research Needs in Nutritional Care” in Neuroendocrine Cancer:
CRUK : “There is no good evidence that any one food prevents cancer, including ‘superfoods “ https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/diet-and-cancer/food-controversies
Please remember – just as treatments and your plan of care is personalised to you, so too should be your dietary and nutritional advice:
A complete holistic patient assessment is key when reviewing dietary requirements and discussing nutrition claims and diets with a patient to ensure a mutual understanding and respect aiding clear communication. Challenging cancer diets myths BDA (UK Association of Dietitians) https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/challenging-cancer-diets-myths.html
For further information about Diet & Nutrition and Neuroendocrine Cancer visit our website: https://www.neuroendocrinecancer.org.uk/neuroendocrine-cancer/diet-nutrition/
Beware unsupported claims!
A recent study, Cancer Misinformation and Harmful Information on Facebook and Other Social Media: A Brief Report, published earlier this year, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, highlights the importance of source checking and being able to recognise evidence-based information about cancer prevention , treatments, diet and survival:
“We found misinformation is clearly prevalent in cancer articles on social media, and the vast majority of those pieces contain harmful information,” Skyler Johnson, MD, (lead author of the study)
What steps can you take to find reliable & accurate information?
1.Check the source:
- Who has written the article? Are qualifications and affiliations stated.
- What kind of article is it? A personal experience account or is it a study or research trial report.
- Who has funded it?
For webpages/websites – It can help to check out the ‘About Us” section – where you can find information about qualifications, affiliations and funding.
If a personal account is making a recommendation – is there evidence to support this or is it personal opinion?
2. Check the small print:
Headlines are usually written to grab your attention – the “click-bait”- they may not reflect the results or conclusions the author(s) reach. Read beyond the headlines and try to avoid skimming.
If you don’t have time to read it through in full right now, but think it might be helpful – bookmark, save, download or print it, so that you can read it later when you do have time to go through it properly.
For studies and research – check out the figures and results section – are these accurately summarised in the conclusion ? Have they got the maths right? For example : 87% report positive results. The figures show that only 10 people were included.
Question – 87% of 10 people = 8.7 people – how can you have 0.7 of a person?
3. Check wording:
Beware the “miracle cure” – Articles containing misinformation often over-state results and claims.
If what is reported seems too good to be true – it might well be – check the research/evidence supporting these claims.
Be careful if dietary products are being sold – the profit rather than the science may be driving any health claims
4. Check the date:
Not everything dated is out of date. However, science evolves over time – research and further study often increase and widen knowledge – it may even change previously accepted information.
If you read something that is several years or decades old – has it kept its relevance? How does it compare with more recent information?
Before following any recommendations or making changes to your health plan, including diet, talk things over with your healthcare team – whilst certain recommendations may be accurate and valid, there may be interactions with your medications/treatments – which could cause harm.
Many healthcare professionals are aware of dietary and complementary therapies – and are happy to discuss these with you, incorporating them into your plan of care, provided it is safe to do so.
There is, however, more caution about alternative therapies, especially those that advise against clinically-proven conventional care.
“If what you eat is important enough to make a difference in your cancer risk —and that is what strong evidence shows— then it’s not something to take casually and accept from sources that aren’t providing a sound representation of good science,” Karen Collins, MS, RDN, (Nutrition Advisor, American Institute for Cancer Research)
Reputable organisations often analyse evidence, accurately summarise findings and produce an unbiased report (making clear any potential conflicts of interest):
”When trustworthy sources share insights on social media, it’s worth paying attention”.