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Oncology hug
Oncology hug

Nutrition in Oncology

Cancer is a complex disease with patients becoming at high risk of malnutrition both as a consequence of their illness and its treatment1. Over 50% of cancer patients present with weight loss at diagnosis and, for many patients, nutritional status continues to deteriorate during and after treatment.2,3


Up to 80% of all cancer patients will be malnourished.4


Cancer related malnutrition is driven by a combined effect of reduced nutritional intake and metabolic changes5-7. These factors contribute to negative energy and protein balance leading to weight and muscle mass loss1.

Poor nutritional status in addition to weight and muscle mass loss can lead to poorer outcomes for the patient. Clinically this impacts not only the patient but also the healthcare setting in a number of ways.

Patient impact

  • Lower quality of life8
  • Increased risk of treatment interruption or delay9
  • Decreased survival9-11
  • Decreased physical function12

Healthcare setting impact

  • Extended hospital stays13,14
  • Increased risk of hospital re-admissions13,14
  • Increased costs of hospitalisation13,14
  • Increased post surgery complications15


Prevelance of malnutrition in Oncology

Why is malnutrition prevalent in Cancer patients?

Understand the causes and consequences of weight loss and malnutrition in Cancer patients. 


Find out more


Managing malnutrition in Oncology

Identification of malnutrition through screening is imperative, as recognised by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)16 and the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN)1,5

Understand the relevance of managing malnutrition and the role of oral nutritional supplements (ONS) for cancer patients.

Find out more

Oral Nutritional Supplements in Oncology


Fortisip Compact Protein is a high energy,  high protein, low volume ONS with specific warming and cooling sensations appreciated in patients with Cancer17

Find out more


A range of resources to support nutrition in Oncology

Oncology e-Learning

This E-learning module is designed to support and improve your knowledge of managing Malnutrition in Oncology, as well as to provide guidance on the use of Oral Nutritional Supplements (ONS) for patients with cancer.

Nutrition in Oncology Webinar

This webinar showcases a multi-disciplinary approach to nutritional management in Oncology. Together, Emma, a Specialist Dietitian, and Judith, a Specialist Nurse, highlight the prevalence of malnutrition in Oncology and the important role nutrition plays.

British Journal of Nursing - Nutrition and Oncology

British Journal of Nursing article written by Emma Atkinson, Mcmillan Dietitian and Judith Atkinson, Specialist Nurse. Nutrition and Oncology: best practice and the development of a traffic light system.

Screening for Malnutrition

Further support on screening for Malnutrition, including our Screening for Malnutrition e-learning

Nutritional intervention in Oncology patients

Our 'Good Days and Bad Days' video was developed highlight the importance of good nutrition in Cancer patients.


A range of Case Studies, Articles and further reading to support Nutrition in Oncology

Do you have a question?

Contact our team of experts for guidance on the use and composition of our product range, for support with queries regarding your Nutricia account and sampling service or to get in touch with your local Nutricia representative. We are available Monday to Thursday 9am-5pm and Friday 9am-4pm (except Bank Holidays)

1. Arends, et al. Clin Nutr. 2017;36(5):1187-1196.

2. DeWys WD et al. Am J Med. 1980; 69: 491-497.

3. Stratton RJ et al. Wallingford: CABI Publishing; 2003.

4. Ravosco, et al. J Clin Med. 2019; 8:1211.

5. Arends et al. Clin Nutr. 2016;36(1):11-48

6. Marín Caro et al. Clin Nutr. 2007;26(3):289-301

7. Fearon, et al. Lancet Oncol. 2011;12(5):489-495.

8. Sánchez-Lara, al. Nutr Cancer. 2012;64(4):526-534

9. Ross et al. Br J Cancer. 2004;90(10):1905-1911.

10. Martin et al. J Clin Oncol. 2015;33(1):90-99.

11. Gannavarapu et al. J Oncol Pract. 2018;14(4):e238-e250

12. Mariani et al. Support Care Cancer. 2012;20(2):301-309

13. Planas et al. Support Care Cancer. 2016;24(1):429-435.

14. Gourin et al. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2014;123(2):101-110.

15. Yu et al. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013;67(7):732-737

16. NICE. Nutrition support for adults: oral nutrition support, enteral tube feeding and parenteral nutrition. Clinical Guideline CG32. https://www.nice.org.uk/Guidance/CG32 [Accessed October 2020].

17. de Haan et al. Support Care Cancer. 2021. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-021-06049-4 

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