Nutrition to fight breast cancer

Women's health beyond statistics

By Rosy Matrangolo


There is scientific evidence that is anything but "evident". What efforts, for example, and what achievements have supported the goal of reduce mortality in women who have had breast cancer?


In 2021, approximately 52.800 new cases of female breast cancer were estimated in the country according to Aiom: although it is still the leading cause of cancer death in women, the percentage of patients who live 5 and 10 years after diagnosis is 87% and 80%. 


The good news is that in the period 2003-2021 we are witnessing a systematic and significant decline (-0,8% per year) of mortality due to the effectiveness of early diagnosis and more recent therapies. An important milestone.


What, then, is behind these statistics? There is the result of how we have learned to consider people who survive thanks to scientific advances. 


This is what happens in the tertiary prevention, a research field that refers to all those actions aimed at "controlling and containing the most complex outcomes of a disease and aims to avoid, or in any case limit, the appearance of both late complications and disabling outcomes" (definition of the Higher Institute of Health).


Among the objectives of this field of study, theincreased quality of life


Looking at the numerical data alone, however, it can be overlooked that i lived, the hopes willpower of each sick person have influenced and motivated researchers in the study of new solutions. 


In the case of Diana Web project, on the other hand, this perspective is completely overturned: the cancer patients involved in the first nationally “participated” study on breast cancer, they are not only the object of observation, but they are a true subject capable of improving the quality of research thanks to that unique and very precious competence that is personal experience.


The Diana Web project of the Istituto dei Tumori of Milan

They are informed, motivated, stubborn and extremely competent: today are 1974 and provide a very important contribution to the Diana Web project, the participatory research study aimed at testing the hypothesis that lifestyles and nutrition can reduce the incidence of relapses or improve the prognosis and life expectancy in those who are recovering from the disease. 


Who are these 1974 experts? They are the members of the project:

  • women suffering from breast cancer,

but also

  • women who are experiencing a relapse phase;
  • women who have been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.


The coordination of this innovative study is byNational Cancer Institute of Milan, in collaboration with theUniversity of Perugia e altri centri sul territorio del paese che seguono da vicino tutti gli iscritti al progetto.


How does Diana Web work?

This tertiary prevention research uses digital platforms to involve and dialogue with the subjects in two directions.


The participants in the project (it is always possible to join) are proposed to:

  • to build a "Online group";
  • try to change your nutrition on the style of the Mediterranean diet;
  • stimulate a moderate but constant physical activity;
  • fill in some questionnaires (about one a month);
  • create and share recipes in line with the study guidelines.


I researchers instead they undertake to:

  • provide a help to change through videos, recipes and more;
  • inform about the most current indications of scientific research;
  • gather clinical data on health, lifestyle and nutrition.


Diana Web's goal is to involve 50.000 people in the wake of the results of previous DIANA studies to improve all those risk factors that are associated with a worse prognosis and a worse quality of life with a healthy diet and correct lifestyles.


Maybe it's time to take that good tip seriously Hippocrates?


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