ESMO 2018: the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) has chosen to highlight the rights of cancer patients to good nutrition. The Cancer Patient’s Charter of Rights for Appropriate and Prompt Nutritional Support maintains nutrition is a right for cancer patients.

Munich, Germany, 21 October 2018 – At the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2018 congress, the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) refocused the attention of delegates, policy makers and other stakeholders on the Cancer Patient’s Charter of Rights for Appropriate and Prompt Nutritional Support.

The Charter, endorsed by the European Society of Surgical Oncology (ESSO), expert organisations and patient groups (such as Europa Uomo, Fight Bladder Cancer) across Europe, details ten core principles to ensure cancer patients receive the nutritional care they deserve. The charter emphasizes the rights to correct information, counselling and psychological support. For patients in need of additional nutritional support, nutritional screening, oral supplements and prompt artificial nutrition, including in the home, should be considered a right, not as an add-on or afterthought. Nutrition is a crucial component of cancer treatment and rehabilitation as it helps patients better cope with illness.

The Charter, is found in our 'Living Well during Cacer Treatment Patient booklet', which gives cancer patients a sound understanding of their rights when it comes to nutrition. Unfortunately, access to these rights is not universal and patients’ experiences vary greatly.

“The Charter of Rights is an important step towards integrating nutritional care into cancer treatment”, says Francesco de Lorenzo, ECPC President. “Ensuring patients have the necessary information to understand their rights and options is vital in improving quality of care and autonomy of patients. We are pleased to see clinical nutrition high on the agenda at ESMO this year. We will continue to empower patients to take ownership of their care, at the same time as encouraging medical professionals to address concerns around nutrition proactively”.

The full Charter of Rights is accessible via the ECPC website and was distributed at ESMO at the ECPC booth and at the EONS 11 Satellite Symposium on Teamwork for Nutrition: Improving patient and clinical outcomes by addressing chemotherapy related malnutrition for patients in a multidisciplinary approach.

For more information, contact Isabelle Manneh, Head of Health & Research Programmes, at isabelle.manneh@ecpc.org.