Objective: In oncology practice, nutrition and also metabolic activity are essential to support the nutritional status and prevent malignant cachexia. It is important to evaluate the patients and plan the maneuvers at the start of the therapy. The primary objective of the study is to define the nutritional status of hospitalized patients and the factors affecting it in order to define the most susceptible patients and maneuvers for better nutritional support.
Methods: Patients hospitalized in oncology clinic for therapy were evaluated for food intake and nutritional status through structured interviews. The clinical properties, medical therapies, elements of nutritional support were noted and predictors of inadequate nutritional status (INS) were analyzed.
Results: Four hundred twenty three patients, between 16-82 years old (median: 52) were evaluated. Nearly half of the patients (185, 43%) reported a better appetite at home than in hospital and declared that hospitalization is an important cause of loss of appetite (140/185, 75.6%). Presence of nausea/vomiting (N/V), depression, age less than 65 and use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) were associated with increased risk of INS in hospitalized cancer patients. On the contrary, steroid medication showed a positive impact on nutritional status of cancer patients.
Conclusion: N/V, younger age, presence of depression and NSAIDs medication were associated with INS in hospitalized cancer patients. Clinicians should pay more attention to this group of patients. In addition, unnecessary hospitalizations and medications that may disturb oral intake must be avoided. Corticosteroids are important tools for managing anorexia and INS.