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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Malnutrition in Cancer

Malnutrition is a state of nutritional deficiency or excess. In cancer patients, who often are malnourished. According to one source, some 30-80% of cancer patients will experience weight loss during the course of their illness. Among that number, 97.6% require nutrients. If left untreated, will lead to malnutrition kakheksia, a wasting syndrome (tissue breakdown) which would lead to immune disorders, weakness and weight loss, fat loss and muscle tissue.

According to data from the publication of the National Cancer Institute United States, 20-40% of cancer patients die from complications of malnutrition, not from cancer itself. Problem of malnutrition was not only experienced by cancer patients who were treated at the hospital, but also experienced by outpatients because it was found that outpatients were difficult to eat in sufficient quantities.

Mechanism of occurrence of malnutrition in cancer patients is multifactorial, complex and intertwined, which can be divided into two: a direct result of cancer itself and not the direct result of, among others, and the complications arising from cancer therapy.

Various causes of malnutrition in cancer patients include:
• Decrease in food intake
 - Loss of appetite
 - Not able to eat, due to: the mouth and teeth problems, blockage of the digestive tract
• Increased nutritional needs
 - Hypermetabolic state experienced by cancer patients
 - The need has increased for the fight against disease
• Increased networking solution
  - The production of substances that cause inflammation by cancerous tissue.

Malnutrition in cancer patients will lead to immune disorders, impaired wound healing, decreased the response of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, leading to apathy and fatigue, and decreased quality of life and increased complications and death.

Symptoms and Signs
In general, symptoms and signs of malnutrition develops slowly and is found through examination of weaning (screening) and the assessment of nutritional status.
Weaning examination aims to find the risk of malnutrition in patients who showed no symptoms. This examination will help if the patient is at risk of malnutrition, and can take steps to prevent malnutrition.
Assessment of nutritional status to check the nutritional status of patients and help determine whether the handling of nutrients are needed to address nutritional problems experienced by patients.
Symptoms and signs of malnutrition that may arise are tired, weak, weight loss and upper arm circumference, anemia, and others.

Nutrition Therapy
Every cancer patient nutritional status as a check that can be done by an integrated team consisting of:
• Physician
• Nurse
• Nutritionists

Integrated nutrition team will utilize specific nutrients that are beneficial to cancer patients with the objectives below:
• Preventing or overcoming nutritional problems, including preventing damage to the muscles and bones
• Reduce the side effects of cancer therapy
• Maintain strength and energy of patients
• Helps the immune system fight infection
• Improve the effectiveness of therapy
• Improve quality of life.

A variety of specific nutrients that are beneficial to cancer patients, among others:
• Protein
In accordance with the mechanism of the onset of weight loss in cancer patients is muscle tissue breakdown, protein in the cancer patient's nutritional intake will overcome the conditions of protein breakdown and promote weight loss. With the high rate of catabolism of cancer patients, the higher the protein intake of cancer patients, the better. Among the many controversies that exist regarding the amount of protein intake that is safe for cancer patients, a body of research clearly indicates that protein restriction does not alter the composition of cancer patients or rate of tumor growth, but reduces the patient's health.
• Branch Chain Amino Acids
Branch Chain Amino Acid (Branched Chain Amino Acid) is a set of essential amino acids that are beneficial to increase appetite and decrease tissue breakdown. BCAA this would also help boost the immune system that helps the body fight infection.
• Omega 3
Omega 3 fatty acid is a very good way to help reduce the inflammation that will cause cell damage and weight loss.
• FOS
FOS is a probiotic fruktooliogosakarida which is good to maintain a healthy digestive tract cancer patients.
• Anti-Oxidant
Antioxidants are useful to prevent oxidative damage
• Mineral and Vitamin
Provision of minerals and vitamins intended to meet the needs of multivitamin and mineral that is often deficits in cancer patients.

From the above, we can conclude that the nutritional status of cancer patients play an important role in survival and quality of life of patients. Worsening quality of life and decrease the survival rate of patients not only experienced by severe malnutrition, but also by who are malnourished.
With nutritional therapy that utilizes the nutrients that are specific to cancer patients, the condition, response to therapy, therapeutic effectiveness and quality of life of patients can be improved and maintained that will lead to improved patient survival.

Enjoy this article and Thanks for reading: Malnutrition in Cancer

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