While healthcare is becoming more patient-centred, evidence-based nutrition interventions are still not accessible to all patients with cancer.
As nutrition interventions directly improve clinical and socioeconomic outcomes, patient-centred care is not complete without nutrition care.
While awareness of the negative impact of malnutrition on clinical outcomes, quality of life, and functional and emotional wellbeing in cancer is growing, there is relatively poor awareness amongst patients, clinicians, policymakers, and payers that nutrition interventions-particularly those begun in the early stages of the disease course- are an effective method for improving such outcomes.
The European Beating Cancer Plan recognises the need for a holistic approach to cancer but lacks actionable recommendations to implement integrated nutrition cancer care at member state level. When considering nutrition care as a human right, the impact on quality of life and functional status must be prioritized, as these may be equally as important to patients, especially in advanced cancer where improvements in clinical outcomes such as survival or tumour burden may not be attainable.
We formulate actions needed at the regional and the European level to ensure integrated nutrition care for all patients with cancer.
The four main Take Home Messages are as follows:
- The goals of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan cannot be achieved without integrating nutrition across the cancer care continuum.
- Malnutrition negatively impacts clinical outcomes and has socioeconomic consequences for patients and healthcare systems.
- Championing integrating nutrition care into cancer care is therefore the duty and ethical responsibility of clinicians.
- Nutrition care is a cost effective, evidence-based therapy.
Source: Erickson, N, Sullivan, ES, Kalliostra, M, Laviano, A, & Wesseling, J. 2023. Nutrition care is an integral part of patient-centred medical care: a European consensus. Medical oncology (Northwood, London, England), 40(4), 112. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12032-023-01955-5