MNI and SNE welcome the multi-disciplinary approach proposed under Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan
The Medical Nutrition International Industry (MNI) and Specialised Nutrition Europe (SNE) welcome the publication of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan today and in particular the focus on building holistic treatment pathways delivered by multi-disciplinary care teams.
The plan published today includes measures which will contribute to improved quality of life, faster recovery and higher rate survival in cancer patients. The plan acknowledges in particular the importance of nutritional support, which is proven to help cancer patients cope better with illness and treatment.
MNI and SNE believe that nutritional care should be an integral part of cancer treatment and we will continue working with stakeholders to ensure this is translated in the implementation of the Action Plan.
- MNI and SNE welcome the Cancer Plan’s approach to build a qualified healthcare workforce. Awareness about cancer-related malnutrition is low among healthcare professionals and patients. Actions envisaged in the Plan, such as the ‘Inter-specialty cancer training programme’ should include training of healthcare professionals as well education on nutritional interventions for medical students.
- MNI and SNE fully support the Cancer Plan’s emphasis on a multidisciplinary workforce and call for more dietitians/nutritionists in oncology wards. The EU Network linking recognised National Comprehensive Cancer Centres should also include nutritionists and dieticians to ensure patients’ access to nutritional care.
- MNI and SNE also acknowledge the Cancer Plan’s efforts to provide supportive care to cancer patients. Tackling cancer-related complications such as malnutrition is important for a truly holistic approach to cancer care. The newly formed Knowledge Centre on Cancer should ensure that best practices related to nutritional interventions are considered.
Fernando Mateus, President of MNI highlights: ‘Cancer-related malnutrition often remains underdiagnosed and undertreated in current clinical practice. An overwhelming majority of cancer patients are not screened for nutritional status and do not receive information on nutritional interventions. We hope the Europe Beating Cancer Plan will be a turning point in the way we care for cancer-related malnutrition.’
Prof. Udo Herz, President of SNE adds: ‘1 in 3 cancer patients are malnourished: malnutrition in cancer patients leads inter alia to organ damage, immune system dysfunction and lean muscle loss. Cancer patients have a significantly increased risk of infections and complications, leading to diminished tolerability of chemotherapy, and impact on overall survival.’
The cancer plan is a great step forward, but much remains to be done. MNI and SNE stand ready to work with the Cancer Plan Implementation Group to ensure that implementing measures will deliver holistic care pathways, including measures to address cancer-related malnutrition.