Cancer: Influence of Nutrition on Quality of Life

  • M. M. Marín Caro
  • C. Pichard
Reference work entry


Cancer and its treatment result in a deterioration of patient’s physical, psychological and social well-being. It has a direct impact on the metabolism resulting in an impaired use of the nutrients provided by the food intake.  Malnutrition is typically found in oncology patients and results in a reduced response to the oncology treatment, increased morbidity and a decrease of quality of life (QoL). QoL is a concept for the evaluation of the patients’ well being in all aspects of their life. Hence QoL can be used to assess the impact of the cancer treatment in terms of what matters to patients.

This chapter aims to show how nutritional treatment can improve the QoL. In order to promote this objective, nutritional care should be part of the oncology care. The optimal nutritional care is based on the balance between the patient’s nutritional requirements and food intake. Nutritional care can be provided by different means: nutritional counseling, oral nutritional supplementation, enteral nutrition and parenteral nutrition. The focus of the nutritional care differs if the patient’s undergo curative or palliative oncology treatment. In curative treatment, the nutritional intervention aims for an increased tolerance of and response to the treatment, increased immune function, decreased rate of complications and hence a decreased length of hospital stay. In palliative treatment, nutritional intervention is focused on the “management” of symptoms, delaying the loss of autonomy and improving their QoL. The evaluation of the QoL gives the possibility to integrate the patient’s needs and expectations to the oncology care.


Nutritional Status Enteral Nutrition Total Parenteral Nutrition Nutritional Intervention Early Satiety 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

List of Abbreviations:


Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis


 Body Mass Index


Body Weight


Enteral Nutrition


Home Parenteral Nutrition


Oral Nutritional Supplements


Percutaneus Endoscopic Gastrostomy


Quality of life


Resting Energy Expenditure


Subjective Global Assessment


Total Parenteral Nutrition


  1. Aaronson NK, Ahmedzai S, Bergman B, Bullinger M, Cull A, Duez NJ, Filiberti A, Flechtner H, Fleishman SB, De Haes JC, et al. (1993). J Natl Cancer Inst. 85: 365–376.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arends J, Bodoky G, Bozzetti F, Fearon K, Muscaritoli M, Selga G, Van Bokhorst-De, Van Der MA, Schueren Von Meyenfeldt M, Zurcher G, Fietkau R, Aulbert E, Frick B, Holm M, Kneba M, Mestrom HJ, Zander A. (2006). Clin Nutr. 25: 245–259.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Argiles JM. (2005). Eur J Oncol Nurs. 9(Suppl 2): S39–S50.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Argiles JM, Meijsing SH, Pallares-Trujillo J, Guirao X, Lopez-Soriano FJ. (2001). Med Res Rev. 21: 83–101.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baxter JP, Fayers PM, Mckinlay AW. (2006). Clin Nutr. 25: 543–553.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bergkvist K, Wengstrom Y. (2006). Eur J Oncol Nurs. 10: 21–29.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bossola M, Pacelli F, Tortorelli A, Doglietto GB. (2007). Ann Surg Oncol. 14: 276–285.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Braga M, Gianotti L, Nespoli L, Radaelli G, Di Carlo V. (2002a). Arch Surg. 137: 174–180.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Braga M, Gianotti L, Vignali A, Carlo VD. (2002b). Surgery. 132: 805–814.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Braga M, Gianotti L, Vignali A, Schmid A, Nespoli L, Di Carlo V. (2005). Nutrition. 21: 1078–1086.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Capra S, Ferguson M, Ried K. (2001). Nutrition. 17: 769–772.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cella DF, Tulsky DS, Gray G, Sarafian B, Linn E, Bonomi A, Silberman M, Yellen SB, Winicour P, Brannon J, et al. (1993). J Clin Oncol. 11: 570–579.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Delano MJ, Moldawer LL. (2006). Nutr Clin Pract. 21: 68–81.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Detsky AS, Mclaughin JR, Baker JP, Johnston N, Whittaker S, Mendelson RA, Jeejeebhoy KN. (1987). J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 11: 8–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dolan P. (1997). Med Care. 35: 1095–1108.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Doyle C, Kushi LH, Byers T, Courneya KS, Demark-Wahnefried W, Grant B, Mctiernan A, Rock CL, Thompson C, Gansler T, Andrews KS. (2006). CA Cancer J Clin. 56: 323–353.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fearon KC, Von Meyenfeldt MF, Moses AG, Van Geenen R, Roy A, Gouma DJ, Giacosa A, Van Gossum A, Bauer J, Barber MD, Aaronson NK, Voss AC, Tisdale MJ. (2003). Gut. 52: 1479–1486.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gianotti L, Braga M, Nespoli L, Radaelli G, Beneduce A, Di Carlo V. (2002). Gastroenterology. 122: 1763–1770.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Grimble RF. (2005). Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 21: 216–222.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Grobbelaar EJ, Owen S, Torrance AD, Wilson JA. (2004). Clin Otolaryngol Allied Sci. 29: 307–313.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kondrup J, Allison SP, Elia M, Vellas B, Plauth M. (2003). Clin Nutr. 22: 415–421.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kushi LH, Byers T, Doyle C, Bandera EV, Mccullough M, Mctiernan A, Gansler T, Andrews KS, Thun MJ. (2006). CA Cancer J Clin. 56: 254–281.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Laviano A, Meguid MM, Inui A, Muscaritoli M, Rossi-Fanelli F. (2005). Nat Clin Pract Oncol. 2: 158–165.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Laviano A, Meguid MM, Preziosa I, Fanelli FR. (2007). Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 10: 449–456.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lochs H, Allison SP, Meier R, Pirlich M, Kondrup J, Schneider S, Van Den G, Berghe Pichard C. (2006). Clin Nutr. 25: 180–186.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Loser C, Aschl G, Hebuterne X, Mathus-Vliegen EM, Muscaritoli M, Niv Y, Rollins H, Singer P, Skelly RH. (2005). Clin Nutr. 24: 848–861.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Marin Caro MM, Laviano A, Pichard C. (2007a). Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 10: 480–487.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Marin Caro MM, Laviano A, Pichard C. (2007b). Clin Nutr. 26: 289–301.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Odelli C, Burgess D, Bateman L, Hughes A, Ackland S, Gillies J, Collins CE. (2005). Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 17: 639–645.Google Scholar
  30. Parkin DM, Bray F, Ferlay J, Pisani P. (2005). CA Cancer J Clin. 55: 74–108.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ravasco P, Monteiro-Grillo I, Marques Vidal P, Camilo ME. (2005). Head Neck. 27: 659–668.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ravasco P, Monteiro-Grillo I, Vidal PM, Camilo ME. (2004). Support Care Cancer. 12: 246–252.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Siddiqui F, Kachnic LA, Movsas B. (2006). Hematol Oncol Clin North Am. 20: 165–185.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Stone HB, Coleman CN, Anscher MS, Mcbride WH. (2003). Lancet Oncol. 4: 529–536.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Van Cutsem E, Arends J. (2005). Eur J Oncol Nurs. 9(Suppl 2): S51–S63.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ware JE Jr, Sherbourne CD. (1992). Med Care. 30: 473–483.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Weimann A, Braga M, Harsanyic L, Lavianod A, Ljungqvist O, Soeters P. (2006). Clin Nutr. 25: 224–244.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. M. Marín Caro
  • C. Pichard

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations