The trial team found that eating a high fibre diet during a course of radiotherapy to the pelvis reduced the side effects.
This phase 1 trial
. 166 people took part. Everyone who took part was put into 1of 3 treatment groups. Neither they or their doctor chose which group they were in.
During their radiotherapy treatment:
- 55 people had a low fibre diet
- 55 people had their usual diet
- 56 people had a high fibre diet
Everyone kept a diary of:
- what they ate
- their bowel habits
- the appearance of their poo
They also completed a questionnaire:
- every week during their radiotherapy
- at the end of treatment
- 1 year after treatment
The questions asked about side effects and how they were managing.
The researchers compared the diaries and the questionnaires of each group.
When the team looked at the diaries. They found that there was a significant difference
in the amount of fibre each group were eating.
The researchers looked at what each group ate and if there was a difference in the amount of:
They found the amount of each was significantly lower in those who had the low fibre diet and their usual diet.
Each answer in the questionnaire had a score. The team compared the total score of each person’s questionnaire to find out the results.
The team looked at the scores from the start of treatment and the lowest score. Within each group there was no significant difference in these scores.
They then compared the change in the scores from the start of radiotherapy to those at the end of radiotherapy. They found there was a smaller change in the high fibre group than those in the usual diet group.
A year after radiotherapy people in the high fibre diet had a better score than those who had their usual diet. The team said this was a significant difference.
People advised to have a high fibre diet during their pelvic radiotherapy had fewer immediate and long term side effects than those who had their usual diet.
Advice to have a low fibre diet during pelvic radiotherapy has no evidence and should not be given to people in this situation.
We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed
) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team who did the research. We have not analysed the data ourselves.