-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Good dietary advice and
supplements can boost nutrition while improving quality of life in
malnourished cancer patients, a new study finds.
However, the interventions do not appear to affect survival for
these patients, according to the findings published in the Feb. 15
issue of the
Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
For the study, Christine Baldwin, a lecturer in the nutritional
sciences division at King's College London, and colleagues analyzed
data from 13 clinical trials that included a total of more than
1,400 cancer patients who were malnourished or at risk of
malnutrition. Some of the patients received oral nutritional
support (dietary advice and/or supplements) while others received
Oral nutritional support had a wide range of effects on both
weight and energy intake, and led to improvements in aspects of
quality of life, such as emotional functioning, shortness of breath
and loss of appetite. However, this type of intervention had no
effect on patient death rates, the study authors noted in a journal
The level of benefit varied between patients, and the authors
concluded that "it is likely that the factors such as site and
stage of disease and, indeed, variations in the duration, nature
and intensity of the nutritional intervention will account for
difference in effects in patients."
International guidelines have suggested oral nutritional
intervention for malnourished cancer patients or those who are at
nutritional risk, but these suggestions are based largely on expert
opinion as opposed to clinical trials, according to background
information in the study.
Commenting in an editorial accompanying the study, Ann O'Mara
and Diane St. Germain of the U.S. National Cancer Institute wrote
that "until future research provides clearer answers regarding who
will benefit from nutritional interventions, the use of a
comprehensive assessment, published nutritional guidelines and
early interventions are essential."
The American Cancer Society has more about
cancer patients and nutrition.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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