Food and Behaviour Research

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22 July 2014 - MNT - Patients with advanced cancer can benefit from programs combining exercise and nutritional advice

Patients with advanced cancer can benefit from a rehabilitation program combining exercise, nutritional counselling and symptom control, according to an evidence review in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). Palliative care programs should be expanded to include these elements and should be available to patients from diagnosis.


The authors of the study comment that "When caring for patients, we may limit our horizons if we fail to recognize the influence of their psychological state, nutrition, physical activity, symptoms and functional status on their disease and response to therapy," and  "A truly comprehensive care program will incorporate elements that address each of these aspects."

The failure to take nutrition into account when treating cancer has previously been addressed by Sheila Dillon / BBC Radio 4:

19 May 2013 - Cancer and diet: Why is nutrition overlooked?

"Cancer rehabilitation is a process that assists a person with a cancer diagnosis to obtain optimal physical, social, psychological and vocational functioning within the limits created by the disease and its treatment," write Dr. Martin Chasen, Division of Palliative Care, Élisabeth-Bruyère Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario, with coauthors.

Evidence from rehabilitation programs at several Canadian hospitals show improvement in fatigue and physical endurance, symptom alleviation, mood and quality of life after embarking on specialized nutritional and exercise regimens. The Jewish General Hospital and the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, Quebec and Élisabeth-Bruyère Hospital, Ottawa, operate rehabilitation programs and have reported on patient outcomes.