C Shaw, Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust,
© 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Patients with cancer suffer from numerous eating difficulties due to the disease or treatments. However, if attention is paid to these problems and dietary intervention is early, patients can be relived from some of the symptoms and need not lose a great deal of weight. Many dietary problems may be anticipated if there is a known diagnosis and treatment plan, and a prompt referral to a dietician is beneficial. All patients should undergo a nutritional screening and assessment, and high-risk patients or those experiencing problems should be referred for advice and appropriate support.
Weight loss and poor nutritional status may lead to poor wound healing, increased risk of local and systemic infection, reduced tolerance to treatment, poor postoperative recovery, and reduced quality of life. Maintenance of good nutritional status is important to enable patients to complete their course of anticancer treatment.
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