Being overweight or obese may hide true nutritional status of patients with cancer

the ONA take:

Most cancer treatments—surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or chemoradiation—can result in significant nutrition-related side effects; therefore, all patients should be screened for nutritional status, even obese patients. The nutritional status of overweight or obese patients may be deceiving.

Obesity increases the risk for cancer, and many patients are overweight or obese at diagnosis. But they appear to be well-nourished so they are not screened. Researchers at the chemotherapy department at Larissa General Clinic in Thessaly, Greece, conducted a study of 1,469 patients with advanced cancer; 594 of them were overweight or obese. Using nutritional screenings and questionnaires, the researchers determined if overweight or obese patients were well nourished, at risk, or malnourished.

The patients were asked about weight loss, mobility, psychological stress, medical history, eating habits, and their view of their own nutritional status. Study results indicated that 12% of the overweight and obese cancer patients were, in fact, malnourished and more than half were at risk for being malnourished.

Whether patients with cancer benefit from maintaining a heavy body weight or achieving some limited degree of weight loss is unclear.

However, these researchers and others stress that obesity or overweight status in a patient with a cancer diagnosis should not preclude nutritional screening, which is usually done by a nurse, because nutritional status can have a huge impact on quality of life, treatment response, and overall patient outcomes.

Being overweight or obese may hide true nutritional status of patients with cancer
All patients should be screened for nutritional status, even obese patients.
Overweight cancer patients may benefit from being tested for malnutrition, according to a new study. Obesity increases the risk for cancer, so many patients are overweight or obese at diagnosis, and are typically not screened for malnutrition because they appear to be well-nourished, the authors write in the Annals of Oncology.

Obese cancer patients also tend to survive longer than underweight patients and that may further discourage nutritional screening, they add.

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