Why should cancer patients care for their nutritional status?
At first glance, there are much more important things to care about than nutrition. Maybe you even like losing some weight? Well, don’t take it too easy. Malnutrition and cachexia can be symptoms of cancer. And it is good to know how they can worsen your health.
What is malnutrition?
When thinking about malnutrition, you may have the impression that it’s only an issue in developing countries, however, especially for cancer patients, malnutrition is an important matter. Up to 67% of patients with certain types of cancer (e.g., pancreatic) are affected by malnutrition.
Malnutrition can be explained as a physical state that is caused by a lack of intake or absorption of nutrients that leads to altered body composition. It is not just a simple synonym for being underweight, but rather an imbalance in the nutritional state. Patients who have a normal weight or are even overweight can be malnourished.
Cancer patients are at high risk of disease-related malnutrition
Malnutrition is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in tumor patients, can lead to more infections, lower treatment tolerance and longer hospital stays. Moreover, it can impact your quality of life. So, preventing malnutrition really is essential for your treatment.
Patients with malignant diseases like cancer show a high risk of malnutrition. Unlike with malnutrition in people without such diseases, the reasons and outcome differ in cancer patients.