Sources of nutrition advice and desired nutrition guidance in oncology care: Patient's perspectives

Laura Keaver, Janice Richmond, Fiona Rafferty, Pauline Douglas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The present study aimed to describe the proportion of cancer patients and survivors who receive nutrition advice, the sources of that advice and to explore the nutrition advice this cohort would like to have received. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional survey was completed by 211 cancer patients and survivors recruited through two hospitals in the North-West of Ireland. The survey consisted of open-ended and closed questions that aimed to explore the provision of and sources of nutrition advice and desired guidance in this cohort. Descriptive analysis was conducted using SPPS, while open-ended questions underwent thematic analysis. Results: Respondents were mainly female (n = 133; 63%), aged 50–69 years old (n = 118; 56%), attending the outpatient department (n = 128; 60.7%) and < 5 years since diagnosis (n = 150; 71.7%). Breast (n = 69; 32.7%) was the most common cancer type. Respondents experienced a mean ± SD of 5 ± 3.1 nutrition impact symptoms. The most common was changes in taste/smell (n = 122; 57.8%). Although 53.6% (n = 113) reported being given advice, only 34.1% (n = 72) received this advice from a dietitian. The main sources of nutritional advice were friends and family. Respondents expressed their desire for nutrition advice from a dietitian and that this should be individualised, clear and practical. There was also a desire to avoid misinformation and uncertainty. Conclusions: The results of the present study can be used to help tailor nutrition support for this group. There is a need to ensure that patients and survivors consistently receive evidence-based advice tailored to their needs, cancer type and treatment stage.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
Early online date1 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished online - 1 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022 The British Dietetic Association Ltd.

Keywords

  • nutrition education
  • clinical practice
  • clinical nutrition
  • cancer disease
  • therapeutic areas

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