Dr. Hegazi on Nutrition-Related Toxicities in Oncology


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Refaat Hegazi, MD, PhD, MPH, discusses nutrition-related toxicities in oncology.

Refaat Hegazi, MD, PhD, MPH, medical director, Adult Nutrition, Abbott, discusses nutrition-related toxicities in oncology.

Patients with cancer may experience protein/calorie malnutrition, micronutrient deficiency, electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, and loss of muscle mass or function as a result of their cancer or cancer treatments, says Hegazi.

Early intervention for select patients at risk of detrimental weight loss or muscle loss is necessary to ensure that optimal nutritional care is implemented as soon as possible, Hegazi adds. Moreover, giving specialized nutrients to certain patients may prevent muscle degradation by increasing protein.

Patients who undergo surgery have an increased risk of losing muscle, as the procedure imposes metabolic changes on the patient, Hegazi explains.

Close monitoring of a patient’s nutritional status is important, as loss of muscle mass and function has been associated with a worse prognosis. Moreover, patients experiencing malnutrition appear to have an increased risk of infection, pressure injury, and resistance to therapy, concludes Hegazi.

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