People receiving cancer treatment are at nutritional risk. Their eating problems can lead to malnutrition and weight loss. Involuntary weight loss is also a defining characteristic of tumor-induced cachexia. Weight loss is associated with poor tolerance of treatment, poor treatment outcomes, morbidity, and mortality. Support for self-management of nutritional risk may protect against malnutrition and be important in multimodal therapies to arrest the progression of cachexia. Nurses can help patients by supporting self-management of eating problems. This scoping review is about eating problems during cancer treatment. It considers patient experience and self-management of eating problems during cancer treatment for the proactive management of malnutrition and cachexia. It draws on a systematic search of Medline, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and the Cochrane Library for publications about people with cancer who have eating problems during treatment. Limits were English language; January 2000 to December 2017; adults. The search found studies about eating problems in patients treated with chemotherapy or radiotherapy for head-and-neck cancer, lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, breast cancer, testicular cancer, and ovarian cancer. Nutritional counseling can improve nutritional intake, quality of life, and weight. However, the patient perspective on self-management and how to motivate engagement in nutritional care is unexplored. There is a potential for reducing nutritional risk during cancer treatment using psychoeducation to support behavioral change, thus empower self-management of eating problems. Benefits are likely in subgroups of people receiving cancer treatment, such as those with head and neck, gastrointestinal, and lung cancers.
Asia-Pacific journal of oncology nursing. 0000 Jan [Epub]
School of Healthcare Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK.