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.
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ECPC Nutrition Survey
In 2015 ECPC sent out an extensive survey on nutrition and its importance on the treatment and life of cancer patients. The results were presented during the ECPC Annual Meeting 2015 in Brussels. The preliminary data obtained from the survey suggested that discrepancies still existed between patients’ expectations and the answers they may get from physicians about the metabolic and nutritional issues in cancer.
Building up on the pilot survey, in 2016 the European Cancer Patient Coalition continued its efforts with a second round of the survey in order to have enough data and maximise the impact of the answers received. The new version was adapted in order to directly address individual cancer patients and cancer survivors. It aimed to describe and understand the perception of the importance of metabolic and nutritional problems among patients and cancer survivors. The study was conducted by a survey of cancer patients and survivors.
A total 907 patients and survivors, distributed in 10 European countries (Finland, Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, Greece, Denmark, Slovenia, Romania, Poland, Bulgaria) answered the questionnaire.
Patients were aware that weight loss related to their condition was negatively impacting on their therapy management, quality of life and social aspects. While not aware about cachexia and its implications, they were willing to receive more information about how to manage this issue.
They were also not aware about artificial nutrition options, nor potential negative impacts of vitamins and anti-oxidants on their therapy. Furthermore, they reported that their physicians were generally not focused on nutrition. Respondents reported that their physicians were not regularly checking for weight loss, providing information about weight loss management or appetite improvement, or referring patients to a nutritionist.
The study showed a substantial gap in terms of need for information and practical management of cancer-related nutritional problems for people with cancer.
To learn more about nutrition, you can contact a nearby patient organisations from the ECPC Member database.
ECPC Nutrition Abstract
The European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) presented Poster #1450P on 10 September 2017 at the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress in Madrid, Spain. ECPC's European survey of 907 people with cancer about the importance of nutrition Abstract #3714 was also published in the Annals of Oncology, encompassing the perspectives of patients and their physicians on nutritional issues, and submitted to a peer-reviewed journal for publication.
ECPC Consultation Document
ECPC collected input on the Nutrition Consultation Document for adapation into the Living Well During Cancer Treatment booklet on 31 January 2018. For more information, please contact ECPC Head of Health and Research Programmes Isabelle Manneh-Vangramberen.
ECPC's Patient Nutrition booklet
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.
Nutrition and Physical Activity Guide
March 2019 Nutrition booklet translated into Czech
October 2018 Nutrition booklet translated into Romanian
July 2018 Lillypad Nutrition Article
June 2018 ESSO Nutrition Endorsement
May 2018 Press Release
March 2018 Nutrition & Physical Activity Month
November 2017 Nutrition Event
September 2017 ESMO Congress
"The European Cancer Patient Coalition gratefully acknowledges the support of Baxter, Celgene, Eli Lilly & Co, and Helsinn. The scope and the content remain the sole responsibility of the European Cancer Patient Coalition."