A recently conducted survey has demonstrated that most patients with cancer don’t clearly understand the importance of nutritional care during their treatment. The survey, which was authorized by the Irish Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, discovered a lack of knowledge and even considerable levels of misunderstanding about cancer care and nutrition.
The survey included 1,000 respondents, 60% of whom didn’t know that losing muscle or weight during cancer treatment carried risk, including for those who were obese or overweight. It also found that one-half of the respondents didn’t fully comprehend whether nutrition made a difference during cancer care.
The survey also found that while 32% of the respondents were unsure if losing weight was a positive side effect of this fatal illness if an individual was obese or overweight, 27% of them were sure that this was a positive thing.
Carel le Roux, a professor and an obesity specialist at St. Vincent’s University Hospital, stated that medical research had shown that maintaining good muscle mass, body weight and nutritional health during cancer care considerably improved the medical outcomes of all patients, including those who were obese or overweight. Le Roux, who is also a spokesperson for the Irish Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, added that muscle and weight loss during treatment was unhelpful as it not only increased the risk of complications but also made the treatment less effective, which could impact survival.
He also revealed that beginning when a patient is diagnosed and even during treatment, the goal is to maintain a patient’s body strength, preserve muscle mass and minimize changes in weight. He then noted that this was important for many patients, as a good number of patients with cancer were obese or overweight at the time of diagnosis.
John Reynolds, a professor and a consultant gastrointestinal surgeon as well as president of the Irish Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, explained that malnutrition and weight loss weren’t inevitable during cancer treatment. He noted that keeping a patient in the best condition that could benefit them was a primary focus in cancer care.
Veronica McSharry, a specialist oncology dietitian, explained that not addressing nutritional deterioration in cancer patients put them at risk of poor tolerance to their treatments, increased the need for inpatient care at hospitals and increased complications in surgery. She advises that patients with cancer who are experiencing a loss of muscle and/or are unable to maintain their weight visit a dietitian or seek advice from their care team.
The potential complications arising out of malnutrition can be severe, and companies such as AREV Life Sciences Global Corp. (CSE: AREV) (OTC: AREVF) are focused on finding remedies to address any clinical complexities that may arise out of malnutrition.
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