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A pilot audit of weight loss in upper gastrointestinal oncology outpatients

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Abstract Background 

Patients with upper gastrointestinal malignancies have a high incidence of weight loss and malnutrition which has been associated with a reduced quality of life, performance status, increased risk of chemotherapy induced toxicity and decreased response to treatment. Aim 

The aim of the pilot audit was to identify how many patients attending an upper gastrointestinal oncology outpatient clinic had lost weight or had nutritional problems. Method 

A short questionnaire on present weight, weight loss and occurrence of symptoms was completed by 40 patients attending an upper gastrointestinal oncology outpatient clinic. Results 

Nutritional screening, including weight, was not routinely carried out on all patients. Only 40% of patients had been weighed at their clinic visit and 65% self-reported that they had lost weight. The frequency of symptoms in the weight loss group was higher than in the nonweight loss group and the incidence of nausea and dysphagia was significantly higher. Only 35% of patients had received dietary advice, but 68% of the remaining patients would have liked some. Conclusion 

A significant number of patients reported weight loss and this was linked with a higher occurrence of symptoms influencing appetite and oral intake.
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Keywords: cancer; dietary advice; nutrition screening; weight loss

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-12-01

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