Nutritional status and information needs of medical oncology patients receiving treatment at an Australian public hospital

Nutr Cancer. 2010;62(2):220-8. doi: 10.1080/01635580903305276.


This study aimed to identify 1) the prevalence of malnutrition according to the scored Patient Generated-Subjective Global Assessment (PG-SGA), 2) utilization of available nutrition resources, 3) patient nutrition information needs, and 4) external sources of nutrition information. An observational, cross-sectional study was undertaken at an Australian public hospital on 191 patients receiving oncology services. According to PG-SGA, 49% of patients were malnourished, and 46% required improved symptom management and/or nutrition intervention. Commonly reported nutrition-impact symptoms included peculiar tastes (31%), no appetite (24%), and nausea (24%). External sources of nutrition information were accessed by 37%, with popular choices being media/Internet (n = 19) and family/friends (n = 13). In a subsample (n = 65), 32 patients were aware of the available nutrition resources, 23 thought the information sufficient, and 19 patients had actually read them. Additional information on supplements and modifying side effects was requested by 26 patients. Malnutrition is common in oncology patients receiving treatment at an Australian public hospital, and almost half require improved symptom management and/or nutrition intervention. Patients who read the available nutrition information found it useful; however, awareness of these nutrition resources and the provision of information on supplementation and managing symptoms requires attention.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Appetite
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Public*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malnutrition / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nausea
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Patient Education as Topic*