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Living Well during Cancer Treatment Nutrition Booklet 05/06/2018

Nutrition is a crucial component of cancer treatment and rehabilitation as it helps patients better cope with illness. However, given the focus on the cancer and its cure, nutrition is often neglected, leaving patients and their families with doubts, questions and the need for practical guidance on how to eat better on a daily basis, especially during therapy.

Daciana Octavia Sârbu (Romanian MEP) in collaboration with the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) hosted an event in the European Parliament in November 2017 on the Role of Nutrition in Cancer Care. Sergio Sandrucci attended representing ESSO.

The results of a survey conducted by the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC), Sapienza University of Rome, and Healthware International was presented; highlighting the lack of information available to patients regarding the importance of nutrition during cancer treatment and rehabilitation. The results demonstrated a substantial gap in terms of need for information and practical management of cancer-related nutritional problems for people with cancer.

During the event, Stakeholders (including ESSO) concluded that:

  •          Nutrition is an important issue for cancer patients

  •          For patients, consulting cancer care teams early is key to sustaining treatment and minimizing side effects

  •          The need of cancer patient empowerment and a unified effort for the application of existing guidelines in daily oncological settings is requested

ECPC launched the Living well during Cancer Treatment Nutrition Booklet on the 1 June 2018 to address common questions patients might have about diet, nutrition and physical activity during cancer treatment, and provide essential patient information regarding nutrition and cancer. ESSO has endorsed this booklet and encourages our members to read and share it with their patients.

View the Patient Nutrition Booklet

MEET THE EXPERT SESSION AT ESSO38: 08:30 - 09:30, 12th October 2018

The ERAS Programme in surgical oncology.

Prof. Sergio SANDRUCCI ESSO-ERAS taskforce

Patients undergoing multimodal oncological care are at particular risk of progressive nutritional decline. In order to minimise a stepwise decline in nutritional status, it is essential to minimise the nutritional/metabolic impact of repeated surgery and manage each surgical episode within the context of an ERAS pathway, that seeks to minimize surgical stress, maintain nutritional status, reduce complications and length of hospital stay. The key nutritional domains of such a programme include an accurate preoperative nutritional assessment, the avoidance of fasting, the optimization of intraoperative operative fluid, a preoperative carbohydrate loading, and recommencement of oral diet on the first post-operative day. Data suggest that when all patients receive such optimised nutritional and metabolic care, the stress response to surgery can be minimized.

Prehabilitation is an important part of ERAS program. The nutrition component of prehabilitation functions to complement the exercise regimen, but also stands alone to promote optimal patient outcomes. In particular, the protein needs of the pre- and post-surgical patient must be addressed to compensate for the catabolic effects of illness and the additional amino acids required for postoperative healing. Most older adults do not meet the minimal dietary protein requirements established for healthy individuals.

Patients at moderate or severe nutritional risk should be considered for routine peri- and post-operative nutritional support (where relevant by oral or enteral route): a standardised nutrition protocol, within an ERAS framework, may result in earlier transition to oral intake. However, as malnutrition can persist, consideration should be given to the extending such support when the patient is discharged into the community.

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