On 21 September, during the ESPEN virtual Congress, cancer patients’ representatives, dietitians, cancer caregivers and industry emphasised the importance of nutritional care during cancer treatment and called on the European Commission and the EU Member States to make optimal nutritional care a pillar of the forthcoming European strategy to defeat cancer, as recommended by the Joint Statement ‘Making cancer-related complications and comorbidities an EU health priority’.
The European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN), the European Nutrition for Health Alliance (ENHA), the European Federation of Associations of Dietitians (EFAD), the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) and the Medical Nutrition International Industry (MNI) gathered at the ESPEN (virtual) 2020 Congress to discuss the importance of nutritional care in cancer treatment in the joint session entitled “Living Healthier lives during cancer treatment with optimal nutritional care”.
All emphasised four critical steps to improve nutritional care of cancer patients:
- the need to adopt a patient-centred approach, based on their needs
- the need to screen, diagnose and treat malnutrition
- the crucial role of dietitians to deliver tailored therapies to help malnourished patients meet their nutritional needs
- and the urgency to apply existing guidelines, such as ESPEN guideline on nutrition in cancer patients
“Nutrition is often overlooked in cancer care, leaving patients, their family and carers without proper information in nutrition and unsure on what to ask their doctors in regards to their individual nutritional needs.”
Professor Rocco Barazzoni – ESPEN Chairman – and Annemieke Van Ginkel-Res – EFAD President announced the cooperation between ESPEN and EFAD “to ensure doctors, dietitians and cancer caregivers collaborate more closely to provide the best possible information and nutritional care for cancer patients at risk of malnutrition’.
Professor Maurizio Muscaritoli shed light on ESPEN ‘practical’ guidelines: shorter versions of the ESPEN clinical guidelines, supported by mobile/desktop apps to facilitate access and implementation.
“The ESPEN practical guidelines will make it easier to access and apply the recommendations. We invite colleagues looking after oncology patients to consult the ESPEN oncology guideline and download the upcoming app”.
The session closed with a call to action addressed to the European Commission and EU Member States to make optimal nutritional care a pillar of the forthcoming European strategy to defeat cancer (the so-called Europe Beating Cancer Plan), as recommended by the Joint Statement ‘Making cancer-related complications and morbidities an EU Health priority’.