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Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 2012 Sep;21(5):581-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2354.2012.01363.x. Epub 2012 May 11.

Nutritional support and quality of life in cancer patients undergoing palliative care.

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  • 1Université de Caen Basse-Normandie EA 3936, INSERM U1086 - Cancers & Préventions, and Centre Régional de Lutte Contre le Cancer François Baclesse, Caen, France. virginie.prevost@unicaen.fr

Abstract

In palliative care, the nutrition provided has to be tailored to the patient's needs, enhancing patient comfort and quality of life (QoL). We conducted a literature search to review methods of measuring QoL, and modalities of nutritional intervention and their influence on QoL of cancer patients in palliative care. Original papers published in English were selected from PubMed database by using the search terms, palliative medicine, cancer, nutrition and quality of life. Specific tools that are particularly recommended to assess QoL in a palliative care setting are reviewed. The main goal in palliative care is to maintain oral nutrition by providing nutritional counselling. Enteral nutritional support showed inconsistent effects on survival and QoL. An evidence-base for parenteral nutrition is still lacking. Ethical considerations concerning provision of food and hydration in end-of-life care are discussed. Nutritional status should be assessed early and regularly during treatment using appropriate tools. In the particularly acute context of palliative care, optimal patient management requires adequate education and counselling to patients and families. Meaningful interactions between the patient, caregivers and medical team would also increase the chance of resolving nutrition-related issues and help to fulfil each patient's specific nutritional needs and thus improve the QoL.

© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

PMID:
22574646
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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