Cancer-induced weight loss (CIWL) is a debilitating condition which affects 30-70% of cancer patients.
Evidence has shown that cancer-induced weight loss reduces response to treatment, increases the incidence of treatment-related toxicities, lengthens hospital stay and reduces overall survival. It is the source of significant psychological stress for patients and negatively impacts on the individual's quality of life and physical activity levels. Unfortunately the intensive dietary counseling that these patients require is not always available due to limited resources.
After a diagnosis of cancer more than 70% of patients seek nutritional information however studies have shown than only 30% have access to a dietitian on a regular basis. There is no written information or cookbook available to cancer patients in Ireland that specifically addresses CIWL aside from short 4-5 page diet sheets distributed by dietitians in their clinics. There is a need for an endorsed publication that is easy to read has a wealth of reliable information on nutrition and cancer, backed up by user friendly, easy recipes that can help patients plan meals that are nourishing and can help attenuate CIWL.
The aim of this project is to create an educational tool for these patients, comprising of information, advice and a bank of nutritious recipes devised specifically to address involuntary weight loss. The 40-50 page printed resource will be specifically tailored for people with cancer who are experiencing moderate to severe weight loss. It will be developed by dietitians and will contain contributions from well-known Irish chefs, health-care professionals working in the area of oncology and cancer patients themselves/ their families.
The booklet will be distributed to cancer-centres across Ireland and available to patients free of charge. An outreach campaign will be undertaken to launch to resource and will involve a series of talks to patients and family members at several cancer centres around the country.
It is hoped that this booklet will become an invaluable resource to healthcare professionals and patients alike.