Nutrition Support for Cancer Patients throughout the Continuum of Care

Book Section

Cancer imposes a tremendous amount of stress on host metabolism and defense mechanisms, eventually leading to a deterioration of nutritional status. The progressive loss of muscle mass associated with cancer is not only an important predictor of disease prognosis and mortality, but also manifests in weakness and fatigue. These changes adversely affect patients’ quality of life contributing to a loss of function and independence. This review summarizes emerging scientific evidence on the importance of nutrition support during cancer treatment. Nutrition therapy should be directed and implemented by nutrition specialists and a multidisciplinary team and tailored to patients’ unique nutrition needs. Components of the nutrition care plan include early nutrition screening and assessment, diagnosis, intervention, and monitoring. Interventions may consist of choice of appropriate nutrition support such as counselling, diet modification, oral nutrition supplements, enteral or parenteral nutrition; or a combination with a focus on attenuating inflammation-associated loss of muscle. Specialized nutrients with immune-modulating and anti-inflammatory properties may play a role in improving clinical outcomes and functional status especially for patients with cachexia and those undergoing surgery. Additionally, the implementation of quality improvement programs with early nutrition screening and intervention demonstrate significant clinical and economic value for patients, providers, and payers.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hegazi, R; Robinson, KN; Cassady, BA; Thomas, S; El-Gamal, M; Williams, DGA; Bastasch, MD

Published Date

  • January 1, 2021

Book Title

  • Nutritional Oncology: Nutrition in Cancer Prevention, Treatment, and Survivorship

Start / End Page

  • 271 - 323

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9780367272494

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1201/9780429317385-14

Citation Source

  • Scopus