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Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2005;9 Suppl 2:S64-73.

Nutritional screening and assessment in cancer-associated malnutrition.

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  • 1Haematology Department, Christie Hospital, Manchester, UK.


Up to 85% of all patients with cancer develop clinical malnutrition, which negatively affects patients' response to therapy, increases the incidence of treatment-related side effects and can decrease survival. Early identification of patients who are malnourished or at risk of malnutrition can promote recovery and improve prognosis. In addition, early nutritional intervention is cost effective, as it reduces complication rates and length of hospital stay. The development and use of screening and assessment tools is essential for effective nutritional intervention and management of patients with cancer. Nutritional screening aims to identify patients who are malnourished or at significant risk of malnutrition. Patients identified through screening require referral to a dietician or specialist in nutrition for an in-depth nutritional assessment, involving examination of medical, dietary, psychological and social history, physical examination, anthropometry and biochemical testing. Interventions initiated after nutritional assessment should be tailored to the individual and take into consideration the patient's prognosis. Nutritional care is a fundamental aspect of nursing practice and nurses are ideally placed to play an essential role in the early detection and screening of malnutrition in patients with cancer.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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