Cancer chemotherapy causes nutrition impact symptoms (NIS) that affect patient diet and nutrition. Such patients, therefore, require nutrition counselling. In this study, we aimed to 1) identify the psychosocial factors of patients who require nutrition counselling and 2) articulate the specific details of the issues for which patients desire advice.
We conducted anthropometric measurements, surveys using questionnaires, and interviews with patients receiving outpatient chemotherapy for head and neck, oesophageal, gastric, colorectal, and lung cancers. The questionnaire included items on NIS, patients’ experience of eating-related distress (ERD), and quality of life (QOL). Interviews were conducted with patients who required nutrition counselling regarding specific issues. We provided nutrition counselling in two sessions.
Of the 151 patients, 42 required nutrition counselling. The psychosocial factors affecting the required nutrition counselling were the number of people in the household, employment status, QOL, and ERD. The contexts of the specific issues patients wanted to discuss included self-management, distress, understanding and sympathy, anxiety, and confusion.
Nutrition counselling for patients receiving cancer chemotherapy needs to involve multidisciplinary support that considers psychological (anxiety, confusion) and social (family structure, employment situation) aspects as additional means to address NIS.