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.
On the 9 November, 2017 MEP Daciana Octavia Sârbu (S&D, Romania) in collaboration with the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) hosted an event in the European Parliament on the important topic of the Role of Nutrition in Cancer Care. The results of a study conducted by the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC), Sapienza University of Rome, and Healthcare International to analyse the importance of nutrition for people with cancer was at the heart of today’s discussions following an abstract of the study that was presented the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2017 Congress in Madrid.
The event also witnessed the launch of the Nutrition Consultation Document which will be adapted to the Living Well During Cancer Treatment booklet where survey results on the crucial part of nutrition for people with cancer were presented together with questions to ask your Oncologist, key messages, and a proposed Cancer Patient’s Charter of Rights for Appropriate and Prompt Nutritional Support for adaption at EU level. The proposed Charter aims to empower cancer patients and raise awareness to their rights while alerting the public opinion and the European Institutions on the risks of malnutrition in oncology.
The results from the survey showed a substantial gap in terms of need for information and practical management of cancer-related nutritional problems for people with cancer as confirmed MEP Daciana Octavia Sârbu: “Nutrition is often neglected, despite being a crucial component of cancer treatment and rehabilitation, as it helps patients to better cope with the illness”. Hence, there is a clear “need to empower individual patients and patient associations by producing more information on cancer patients’ nutritional needs”! noted the President of ECPC, Francesco De Lorenzo.
Stakeholders concluded that:
- Nutrition offers a tremendous opportunity to optimize the overall quality of cancer patient care, improve clinical outcomes, and reduce costs.
- Staying healthy is crucial during cancer treatment
- Anorexia and other changes in eating habits are symptoms of cancer cachexia. For patient, early consultation 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 setting