The impact of nutrition on the lives of patients with digestive cancers: a position paper

Marianna Vitaloni, Riccardo Caccialanza, Paula Ravasco, Alfredo Carrato, Aleksandra Kapala, Marian de van der Schueren, Dora Constantinides, Eva Backman, David Chuter, Claudia Santangelo, Zorana Maravic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Nutritional intervention is an essential part of cancer treatments. Research and clinical evidence in cancer have shown that nutritional support can reduce length of hospitalisation, diminish treatment-related toxicity, and improve nutrient intake, quality of life, and physical function. Nutritional intervention can improve outcomes and help patients in the successful completion of oncological treatments by preventing malnutrition. Malnutrition is a very common hallmark in patients with cancers. Almost one-fourth of cancer patients are at risk of dying because of the consequences of malnutrition, rather than cancer itself. Patients with digestive cancers are at higher risk of suffering malnutrition due to the gastrointestinal impairment caused by their disease. They are at high nutritional risk by definition, yet the majority of them have insufficient or null access to nutritional intervention.Inadequate resources are dedicated to implementing nutritional services in Europe. Universal access to nutritional support for digestive cancer patients is not a reality in many European countries. To change this situation, health systems should invest in qualified staff to reinforce or create nutritional teams' experts in digestive cancer treatments. We aim to share the patient community's perspective on the status and the importance of nutritional intervention. This is an advocacy manuscript presenting data on the topic and analysing the current situations and the challenges for nutrition in digestive cancers. It highlights the importance of integrative nutrition in the treatment of digestive cancers and advocates for equitable and universal access to nutritional intervention for all patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7991-7996
Number of pages6
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Patient experience
  • Quality of life
  • Nutritional intervention
  • Nutrition
  • Digestive cancers


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