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Nutrition and pancreatic cancer

Nutrition and pancreatic cancer

Status

Active

Category

Awareness and Diagnosis; Treatment

Timing

2022 - ongoing

Results and outputs

The booklet Nutrition and pancreatic cancer 

» DOWNLOAD (PDF)

The awareness campaign materials

» DOWNLOAD (PDF)

Bibliography

» DOWNLOAD (PDF)

The idea


Malnutrition in cancer patients leads to poorer health outcomes and it results in an increased burden on healthcare resources.

In pancreatic cancer (the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in both genders), more than 80% of patients have a significant weight loss at the time of diagnosis, and develop severe cachexia over time. Therefore, early, aggressive nutritional support is essential.

Actual available nutritional therapies, in care centres as well as at home, such as enteral nutrition, parenteral nutrition and special nutritional supplements have a beneficial effect on nutritional status, quality of life and even on patients survival.

A good nutrition status of these patients makes them support better the neoadjuvant therapy, the surgical treatment by providing less postoperative morbidity (fistulas and infections), less hospital stay and earlier start of adjuvant therapy.

Major pancreatic radical resections with curative intent have many nutrition-related side effects on the patients, including the development of pancreatic enzyme insufficiency, micronutrient deficiencies, diabetes, fatty liver, and metabolic bone disease.

The key message is: early nutrition care plays an important role in pancreatic cancer treatment, being crucial before, during, and after multidisciplinary management.

Operated patients, also at home, need even more support on nutrition, as side effects or symptoms such as loss of appetite, malabsorption, nausea and vomiting can cause a patient to consume fewer calories than the body needs to maintain an appropriate weight.

Weight loss and malnutrition can have a significant impact on quality of life, daily functioning, response to treatment, length of hospital stays and complications such as infections.

Aims and objectives of the project


The general aim of the project is to make nutrition central in the care of pancreatic cancer patients.

Specific objectives:

  • To raise awareness on appropriate nutrition for pancreatic cancer patients;
  • To communicate the importance of early identification of nutrition needs in pancreatic cancer patients;
  • To support early malnutrition detection in pancreatic cancer patients;
  • To foster knowledge on nutrition for supporting pancreatic cancer treatment.

Activities


In order to achieve the identified objectives, the following actions will be implemented:

Awareness campaign on social media: 

It will help to spread the information about appropriate nutrition and it will be closed in 2023 during Nutrition and Physical Activity Awareness Month which is celebrated every year in March.

Information materials are available.

Educational support to patient organizations on nutrition and pancreatic cancer:

It will provide member patient organizations with basic information on nutrition, with a participatory approach and a preparatory step for the campaign, so to improve its impact at local level.