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The Importance of Nutrition during Treatment for Oesophageal Cancer—The Patient’s Perspective

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DOI: 10.4236/fns.2019.1011091    144 Downloads   341 Views


Background and Objectives: Nutritional issues are prevalent in patients with oesophageal cancer (OC) across all aspects of treatment, including chemoradiotherapy (CRT) and surgery. There are limited studies investigating nutritional issues faced by people undergoing neoadjuvant or definitive CRT from the patient’s perspective. This study aimed to explore the importance that people with OC place upon nutrition during their treatment which included neoadjuvant or definitive CRT, explore the nutritional issues faced in this patient group and identify areas for improvement of dietetic services. Methods and Study Design: Nine people who had undergone curative treatment for OC in the previous 2 - 25 months participated in semi-structured phone interviews. Interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed verbatim and analysed using an inductive thematic analysis approach. Results: Interviews revealed severe difficulties in food consumption during and following CRT and a period of struggling to adjust eating habits post oesophagectomy. There was significant difficulty in following nutrition advice and, despite participants expressing the importance of nutrition; this was not reflected in attitudes towards weight loss. The medical team significantly influenced the perceptions of some participants in regards to their weight loss. Conclusions: Implications for clinical practice include the need for dietetic services before, during and after treatment for OC, irrespective of treatment type. Patient education regarding detrimental effects of rapid weight loss and effects on body composition is crucial, and this should be consistent from all members of the healthcare team.

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Hardy, G. , Findlay, M. and Carey, S. (2019) The Importance of Nutrition during Treatment for Oesophageal Cancer—The Patient’s Perspective. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 10, 1263-1276. doi: 10.4236/fns.2019.1011091.

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