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Nutrition is a crucial component of cancer treatment and rehabilitation as it helps the patients to better cope with illness. However, given the focus on the cancer and its cure, nutrition is often neglected, leaving the patient and family with doubts, questions and the need for practical
guidance on how to eat better on a daily basis, especially during therapy.  
Nutrition front page.2


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 AGM 2015 in Brussels. The preliminary data obtained from the survey suggested that discrepancies still exist between the patients’ expectations / demands, and the answers they may get from physicians about the metabolic and nutritional issues in cancer.

Learning from our experience, in 2016 we continued our efforts with a second round of the survey in order to have enough data and maximise the impact of the answers received. The new ameliorated version was adapted in order to directly address individual cancer patients and cancer survivors.

Generally, the overall preliminary data underscores the need to implement awareness among patients but also among healthcare professionals in order to improve nutritional care. A two-page report of the results was delivered in November 2016.

ECPC Nutrition Survey

The survey was 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 online survey of cancer patients and / or 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. The sample was mainly composed by females, while the age range was well balanced.
The distribution between patients and survivors was almost completely even with four types of cancer (Chest-thoracic, Blood, Genital-urinary, Gastric) being prevalent, other cancer types were present in less than 5%.The study shows a significantly different perspective between patients and physicians in terms of nutritional aspects of cancer or its therapy. Patients are aware that weight loss related to their condition is negatively impacting on their therapy management, quality of life and social aspects. While not aware about cachexia and its implications, they are willing to receive more information about how to manage this issue.
They are also not aware about artificial nutrition options, nor potential negative impacts of vitamins and anti-oxidants on their therapy. Furthermore, Physicians are generally not focused on nutrition as a primary aspect of their activity. They are not regularly checking weight loss, providing information about weight loss management or appetite improvement, or referring patients to a nutritionist.

Accordingly, the study shows a significant gap in terms of need for information and practical management of cancer-related nutritional problems from the patients; and prompts for more focalization of physicians and oncologists on this aspect.

Cancer Patient's Bill of Rights

Cancer Patients’ Bill of Rights for appropriate and prompt Nutritional Support : A charter of rights for cancer patients with regards to nutrition – linking it to existing elements – ESMO NUTRITION guidelines. 

Currently available for review here.

Upcoming Activities

September 2017 ESMO Congress

October 2017 Nutrition Event

March 2018 Social Media Campaign 

Related Documents

Nutrition Survey 2015

Nutrition Survey 2016

Nutrition Brochure.. coming soon

Nutrition Leaflet.. coming soon