Nutrition and supplemental intervention did not affect the survival rate of patients with cancer who were at risk of malnutrition, but they did increase the quality of life of these patients according to a recently published study.
Let’s put some perspective to these findings. In the end, we all have a survival rate of zero. It’s the quality of the time we have that’s important. Physicians and others lose sight of this when they evaluate effects of treatments for terminal diseases.
This study involved pulling the data from over 10 clinical trials, including more than 1,400 cancer patients who were at the risk of malnutrition due to their condition. Some of the patients received supplements, while others received standard care.
Nutritional support affected the patient’s weight, emotional functioning, physical function, and appetite. Although these effects improved the patient’s quality of life, they did not appear to reduce death rates. It was unclear on whether they had any effect on the duration of life.
The level of benefit varied, likely based upon the stage of the disease, nature of the intervention, compliance, and other factors.
The most important finding was that nutritional support does affect the quality of life of cancer patients. In the end, diet may not increase survival, read cure, or prolong life, but if it can improve the quality of the life we have, it seems worth the investment. The same is true in weight loss. Diet alone may not get you to your ideal weight, but even small interventions can pay dividends in the quality of the life you have. In the end, it is the quality of the life you live that really matters.
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