A study looking at how well women follow advice about a low fat diet after treatment for breast cancer (WINS UK Stage 1)

Cancer type:

Breast cancer





This study was trying to find out if women who have had treatment for breast cancer follow dietary advice and make changes to their diet.

Researchers are trying to find out more about the relationship between diet and cancer. It is thought that a healthy balanced diet will protect us from certain types of cancer.

We know less about the role of diet in people who already have cancer treatment, or have had cancer in the past. We do not know if particular diets could help to treat cancer or help to stop cancer from coming back.

This study focused on the diets of women who had already had treatment for breast cancer after the menopause Open a glossary item. It looked at how well these women could make changes to the fat content of their diet after specific advice from a dietician.

This study was called ‘W.I.N.S.’ which stands for the Women’s Intervention Nutrition Study.

Summary of results

The researchers found that following dietary advice, women could reduce the amount of fat in their diet by half and keep to this diet for up to 2 years.

The study recruited more than 100 women who had already had treatment for early breast cancer.

All the women taking part attended small group sessions with a dietician over a 2 year period. Both groups were given advice about eating a healthy diet, but

  • Women in group 1 were given specific advice about reducing the amount of fat they ate
  • Women in group 2 were not

Everybody filled in a food diary at the beginning of the study, every 3 months for the first year and every 6 months in the 2nd year. In the diary, they wrote down everything they had to eat and drink for 4 days. This showed the researchers how much fat the women reported they were eating at different times.

After 3 months, nearly half the women in group 1 (48%) said they had reduced the amount of fat they were eating by at least a half. After 2 years, the number of women saying this had dropped a little to 46%.

In group 2, about 1 in 10 women (11%) said they had reduced the amount of fat they were eating by at least a half after 3 months. In this group, the figure remained about the same after 2 years.

This study showed that women who had specific dietary advice were able to reduce the amount of fat they ate. In the future, researchers hope to try and find out if making these changes to the diet can make it less likely that breast cancer will come back.

We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed independently (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Mr R Rainsbury

Supported by

Breast Cancer Research Trust
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)
Winchester Cancer Research Trust
World Cancer Research Fund

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Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle - 327

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Deborah wanted to help other breast cancer patients in the future

A picture of Deborah

“Deborah agreed to take part in a trial as she was keen to help other cancer patients in the future. "If taking part in a trial means others might be helped then I’m very happy with that."

Last reviewed:

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