Meet our nutritionist in London, Sarah Lumley as she answers some of the most frequently asked questions about nutrition and breast cancer. 

What does healthy eating look like?

To eat healthily means adopting a balanced diet comprising all the key food groups – protein, carbohydrate and healthy fats – using fresh, seasonal ingredients and avoiding too many refined and processed foods. It is important to keep well hydrated, especially between meals.

When we encourage people to eat healthily we encourage them to eat a variety of fresh foods and those with lots of colour. At the same time food should be enjoyed and seen as much more than nutritional nourishment, but also as a social pleasure and form of self-care.

What are the benefits of eating healthily?

There is an enormous amount of research to show the benefits from healthy eating including enhanced energy, mental health, hormone balance and immunity.

Many people comment that when they eat healthily they feel better - with better emotional health and vitality - as well as a reduction in physical symptoms.

Why is it important for those with breast cancer to eat well?

When people are facing the stress and shock of their cancer diagnosis and then their medical plan, it’s important that they can focus on something positive and empowering. This is where nutrition can play such an important role. 

Will chemotherapy or other breast cancer treatment affect someone’s diet?

The medical treatment that people with breast cancer receive is unlikely to affect their diet, but they may experience side effects from that treatment that affects their appetite, their energy and their digestion. 

Eating well during cancer treatment is important to help maintain and stabilise body weight. Eating well will help strength and energy, help immunity to fight off bugs and infections and help the body to heal and recover.

Should we all be eating organic food?

In an ideal world it would be perfect to eat an all-organic diet. However, for most this is not practical in terms of availability as well as financial viability. When cancer patients are too unwell to work they feel under even more financial pressure than usual, so it’s important to be practical and sensible with dietary advice. Keeping stress levels low for cancer patients during their treatment and recovery is probably as important as what is on their plate.

Since most peoples’ immunity may be compromised by their cancer treatment, it is essential that all fruits and vegetables, whether organic or otherwise are thoroughly washed. Rather than worry about eating organic produce, it is better to focus on varied, fresh, local and seasonal ingredients and to derive pleasure from eating them.

Thanks to your donations Sarah supports with breast cancer at our London centre to feel better. We also offer healthy home cooked meals for those who visit, alongside cooking workshops for women to gain tips and techniques to help manage the side effects of cancer treatment. 

Find out more about our nutritional therapy services for people affected by breast cancer.