• Nutrition

Condition Driven: Oncology

Maintaining good nutritional status and muscle mass is important for people with cancer who are undergoing treatment.1,2 Nutrition intervention has been shown to minimize treatment breaks in people with cancer and help improve outcomes.3-7 Get the nutrition you need to help your strength and energy.

Abbott Nutrition has developed therapeutic nutrition products that can help in the nutritional management of your patients before, during and after their cancer treatment.

Malnutrition in Cancer

Malnutrition is a significant nutritional issue that can develop with cancer and during cancer treatment.

One out of two cancer patients experience some nutritional deficit prior to receiving their diagnosis; 85% of patients experience malnutrition during cancer treatment.8,9 One study found that 79% of patients identified as malnourished were normal weight, overweight, or obese.4 Malnutrition, or a significant decline in nutritional status, is multifactorial and can cause weakness, fatigue, decreased quality of life, an inability to tolerate treatment, and increased mortality.8,10-12 Studies have shown up to 20% of patients die from the effects of malnutrition rather than from the cancer itself.11

Malnutrition can result from the disease process, the use of cancer therapies or both. Side effects related to common cancer therapies, including chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, and surgery, are key contributors in promoting the deterioration in nutritional status. Nutrition screening is an integral part in providing nutrition care to patients with cancer. Automatic nutrition intervention in cancer care is recommended by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (ACSCC).13

Meeting the Nutritional Needs of your Patients with Cancer

Eating well is frequently a challenge because cancer and the side effects of treatment can impact dietary intake and, ultimately, nutritional status. People undergoing cancer treatment often need extra calories and nutrients, especially protein.14 Resting energy expenditure (REE) is often increased and can make it difficult to gain or maintain weight.14 Encouraging adequate calorie and protein intake is vital for maintaining and improving nutritional status.

Nutrition intervention pathways, including oral nutrition supplements, have been shown to improve outcomes in various cancer diagnoses.7,10-12,14


  1. Moreland SS. Nutrition screening and counseling in adults with lung cancer: a systematic review of the evidence. Clinical journal of oncology nursing. Oct 2010;14(5):609-614.
  2. Di Sebastiano KM, Mourtzakis M. A critical evaluation of body composition modalities used to assess adipose and skeletal muscle tissue in cancer. Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism = Physiologie appliquee, nutrition et metabolisme. Oct 2012;37(5):811-821.
  3. Nayel H, el-Ghoneimy E, el-Haddad S. Impact of nutritional supplementation on treatment delay and morbidity in patients with head and neck tumors treated with irradiation. Nutrition. Jan-Feb 1992;8(1):13-18.
  4. Davidson W, Teleni L, Muller J, et al. Malnutrition and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting: implications for practice. Oncology nursing forum. Jul 2012;39(4):E340-345.
  5. Bosaeus I, Daneryd P, Lundholm K. Dietary intake, resting energy expenditure, weight loss and survival in cancer patients. The Journal of nutrition. Nov 2002;132(11 Suppl):3465S-3466S.
  6. Chang PH, Yeh KY, Huang JS, et al. Pretreatment performance status and nutrition are associated with early mortality of locally advanced head and neck cancer patients undergoing concurrent chemoradiation. European archives of oto-rhino-laryngology : official journal of the European Federation of Oto-Rhino-Laryngological Societies. May 2013;270(6):1909-1915.
  7. Odelli C, Burgess D, Bateman L, et al. Nutrition support improves patient outcomes, treatment tolerance and admission characteristics in oesophageal cancer. Clinical oncology. Dec 2005;17(8):639-645.
  8. Dewys WD, Begg C, Lavin PT, et al. Prognostic effect of weight loss prior to chemotherapy in cancer patients. Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group. The American journal of medicine. Oct 1980;69(4):491-497.
  9. Laviano A, Meguid MM. Nutritional issues in cancer management. Nutrition. May 1996;12(5):358-371.
  10. Andreyev HJ, Norman AR, Oates J, Cunningham D. Why do patients with weight loss have a worse outcome when undergoing chemotherapy for gastrointestinal malignancies? European journal of cancer. Mar 1998;34(4):503-509.
  11. Pressoir M, Desne S, Berchery D, et al. Prevalence, risk factors and clinical implications of malnutrition in French Comprehensive Cancer Centres.British journal of cancer. Mar 16 2010;102(6):966-971.
  12. Ottery FD. Cancer cachexia: prevention, early diagnosis, and management. Cancer practice. Mar-Apr 1994;2(2):123-131.
  13. American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. Cancer Program Standards 2012: Ensuring Patient Centered Care. Chicago IACoS.
  14. Oncology Nutrition For Clinical Practice. 2013.

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