Recent advantages in the recognition and treatment of many malignancies have allowed the development of effective and curative treatments for numerous patients with cancer. More than ever, patients who were diagnosed with cancer can say they have been cured. The mainstay of treatment involves chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. Typically, these treatment modalities impair a patient’s capacity to maintain adequate nutrition.
Chemotherapy utilized to eliminate cancer cells takes advantage of the growth preferential of malignant cells over normal cells. This implies, however, that normal healthy cells are also going to be affected by these therapies. Abnormalities of the mucosal lining or gastrointestinal tract are a major problem in the delivery of effective chemotherapy and radiotherapy. This results in significant mucositis, esophagitis, gastritis, and enteritis, with the end result of nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and often malabsorption.
Maintaining adequate nutrition during treatment for cancer is often a major ordeal. Treating physicians may have difficulty completing or keeping a patient on schedule due to the known side effects of the treatment. Also, it is not uncommon for cancer therapies to severely impair a patient’s nutritional status.
In this book, leading experts in the field of cancer and nutrition provide insight into the challenges associated with the evaluation and maintenance of cancer patients’ nutritional status. It is certainly a welcome asset to all health professionals who treat patients with cancer.