Background/Aims:Early detection and intervention for malnutrition is imperative for the treatment and management of cancer. The aim of this study was to investigate and evaluate methods for nutritional screening and assessment of patients receiving palliative care, including those with cancer cachexia.
Methods: The Malnutrition Screening Tool (MST), a Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) and the Patient-Generated Subjective Global Assessment Tool (PG-SGA) were used to compare various methods of nutritional screening and assessment in Community Palliative Care (CPC) patients and patients who attended an interdisciplinary Cachexia Clinic.
Results: 73% of patients (n=41) were identified as at risk of malnutrition in the CPC setting, 71% reported eating poorly due to a decreased appetite and 68% reported unintentional weight loss. Of participants that completed the FFQ (n=61), the majority were not meeting the recommended daily serves of fruit (66%) vegetables and legumes/beans (99%), milk, yoghurt, cheese and alternatives (83%) and grains (59%). The PG-SGA found that in patients attending the Cachexia Clinic (n=154), 62% of patients were moderately malnourished and 23% were severely malnourished. Patients were stratified according to their SGA groups and significant differences were found between the groups for nutritional status including percentage weight loss (p≤0.001), body mass index (p≤0.0001) and mid-biceps circumference (p≤0.0001).
Conclusion: By combining the methods of the MST, PG-SGA and FFQ in the community setting, there is an opportunity to identify patients at risk of malnutrition early and intervene, to improve prognosis and prevent serious weight loss.
Funding Source(s): School of Medicine, Deakin University.