Cancer patients and the general public look to clinicians for clear guidance on how they should eat when living with, and beyond, cancer. Clinicians in turn look to scientists for the evidence that will enable clear answers to the questions they are asked. In the first phase, we conducted a survey of cancer and nutrition clinicians to understand their perceptions of the major gaps in clinical practice and research in their respective fields.
- What kind of nutritional support, care and advice do clinicians give to cancer patients?
- Is nutritional status routinely assessed in cancer patients and if so how?
- What are the top three priorities for cancer and nutrition research in the UK?
- What are the main barriers to conducting nutritional research?
The results showed that:
- Incorporation of nutrition in cancer care is challenging
- More large-scale interventional trials are needed, but they are difficult to conduct for practical reasons, such as lack of funding and poor research infrastructure
- Better evidence is needed to produce meaningful advice for patients and recommendations for clinical care
- Nutritional assessment of cancer patients is not carried out in a systematic way
- There is insufficient training for dietitians and other clinicians wishing to specialise in nutrition and cancer.
- We wish to work together with relevant medical professional groups to explore the opportunities to bridge some of these. Further details of this work to follow.