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Want to fight cancer with your fork? There’s an app for that


Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has launched a free, easy-to-use Apple iPhone® app that provides recipes and nutrition information that can be searched by cancer patients in accordance with their needs. The recipes are also helpful to anyone who wants to have a healthy diet.

"We developed Ask the Nutritionist: Recipes for Fighting Cancer to encourage and empower cancer patients, and others, to explore and enjoy healthy eating habits," says Steven R. Singer, senior vice president for Communications at Dana-Farber. "Studies have long shown that good nutrition is tied to good health, and, for those with cancer, treatment side effects can make eating well a real challenge."

Nutrition App icon

Ask The Nutritionist: Recipes for Fighting Cancer contains over a hundred easy-to-prepare recipes ranging from nutritious snacks to good-for-you main dishes to delicious desserts. Users can access a list of ingredients, directions on how to prepare the dish, a shopping list to use at the grocery store, nutrition tips, and nutritional analysis information in a standard USDA label format. New recipes are added each month.

"Nutrition information is one of the most popular sections of the Dana-Farber web site, and we wanted to share the expertise of our terrific nutritionists with a wider, mobile audience," Singer said. The app curates many of the frequent questions and responses to Dana-Farber's nutrition staff, and allows users to ask a direct question.

The app, developed with Dana-Farber's staff of registered and board-certified dieticians, is designed to help find the optimal diet for any type of cancer. It also offers users the ability to search by common symptoms (such as nausea or mouth sores), helping to customize dietary needs while going through treatment. There also are recipes and healthy eating tips for cancer survivors.

"Eating a well-balanced diet is one of the best ways to lower the risk of cancer," says Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN, a nutritionist at Dana-Farber. "Our hope is that this app will not only be a useful tool for cancer patients and their families but will also make choosing the healthiest foods easier and more fun for everyone."

Some unique features of Ask the Nutritionist include:

  • On-the-go access to over a hundred healthy recipes with an evidence-based approach.
  • Nutrition tips and information on cancer-fighting nutrients.
  • Innovative option to search by symptom management.
  • Specialized diet section for those who require foods that are gluten-free, are high-fiber or provide immune support, etc.
  • The ability to create a shopping list to take to the grocery store and never forget a key ingredient.
  • An "ask the nutritionist" function. Dana-Farber's nutrition department will respond to questions from the app's users.
  • An extensive searchable database of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and archived questions and responses about nutrition.

The app is available for all Apple iPhone® users with IOS 5 or higher. It is free and can be downloaded by going to the Apple iTunes® store. Ask The Nutritionist: Recipes for Fighting Cancer was designed and developed in partnership with iFactory, a Boston-based interactive agency.

More information about nutrition and cancer can be found on Dana-Farber's Nutrition Services web page.

Editor's Note: High resolution images, MP3 audio clips of an interview with a Dana-Farber nutritionist, and a video showing how to use the Ask the Nutritionist app are available for downloading on

8/22/2017 9:09:02 AM
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