Thomakos N1, Petrochilou D1, Kontorousis E1, Stamatakis E2, Rodolakis A1, Antsaklis A1

11st Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Athens, Alexandra hospital, Athens, Greece
2Department of Anesthesiology, Alexandra hospital, Athens, Greece

Correspondence: Thomakos Nikolaos, 17 Eslin St, GR-11523 Athens, Greece




Cancer and its treatment result in severe biochemical and physiological alterations associated with deterioration of quality of life (QoL). These metabolic changes leed to decreased food intake and promote catabolism. Cancer-related malnutrition can evolve to cancer cachexia due to complex interactions between pro-inflammatory cytokines and host metabolism. Besides, patients often suffer as well from psychological distress, including depression. Depending on the type of cancer treatment (either curative or palliative ) and on patients' clinical conditions and nutritional status, adequate and personalized nutritional intervention, started as early as possible, can reduce or even reverse their poor nutritional status, improve their performance status and, consequently, their QoL. Nutritional intervention has an additional and specific role, which is to increase the tolerance and response to the oncology treatment, decrease the rate of complications and possibly reduce morbidity by optimizing the balance between energy expenditure and food intake. In palliative care, nutritional support aims at improving patient's QoL by controlling symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and pain related to food intake and postponing loss of autonomy. Nutritional care should be integrated into the global oncology care because of its significant contribution to QoL. Futhermore, the assessment of QoL should be part of the evaluation of any nutritional support to optimize its adequacy to the patient's needs and expectations.

Key words: cancer, quality of life; malnutrition; cellular immunity