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European Week Against Cancer: 1 in 3 cancer patients are malnourished and need nutritional care


26 May 2020


Health & Consumers

26 May 2020 – Brussels, Belgium – On the occasion of the European Week Against Cancer, the Medical Nutrition International Industry (MNI) reminds that 1 in 3 cancer patients are malnourished and calls to integrate screening for malnutrition and nutritional care in the cancer treatment pathway.

Malnutrition in cancer patients leads to muscle loss, organ damage, immune system disfunction, diminished tolerability of chemotherapy and increased mortality.

Despite efficient screening tools, cancer-related malnutrition often remains underdiagnosed or diagnosed too late. MNI calls for screening of cancer patients once the cancer diagnosis is established.

Timely nutritional interventions - early on during cancer treatment - can help patients better cope with the treatment, improve quality of life and lead to better health outcomes by improving muscle mass, and tolerance of anti-cancer therapies (as also indicated in a recent WHO report).

On the European Week Against Cancer, MNI calls on the EU institutions to adopt concrete measures in the Europe Beating Cancer Plan to address the nutritional needs of cancer patients:

  • Screening and monitoring all cancer patients for malnutrition in a timely manner
  • Implementing clinical guidelines on nutritional care in cancer treatment across Europe
  • Establishing multidisciplinary care teams which include a dietitian or a qualified nutritionist
  • Providing equal access to, and reimbursement of, medical nutrition
  • Educating healthcare professionals and patient advocates on malnutrition

MNI contributed to the public consultation on the Europe Beating Cancer Action Plan and invites further exchange on nutrition and cancer with the EU authorities, decision-makers of EU Member States, patient organisations and other relevant stakeholders, as consultation continues in 2020.

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MNI - The Medical Nutrition International Industry (MNI) is the voice of the medical nutrition industry at international level. MNI gathers companies that offer specialised nutritional solutions and services designed to meet the diverse nutritional needs of patients. We strive to put nutrition at the heart of patient care and we aim at an environment that provides fair access to nutritional care throughout the world. MNI is dedicated to advancing better care through better nutrition, across all ages and healthcare settings.

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European Institute of Peace
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International Association for Democracy (IAD)
Lobbying Officer (voluntary)
European Food Banks Federation
Head of ​Fundraising and Partnerships​​
European Affairs Consulting Group (Eacon)
EU Public Affairs Trainee
International Commission of Jurists - European Institutions
Programme Manager
Terre des Hommes International Federation
Child and Youth Participation Advisor (Environment & Climate)
KIOS Foundation
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European Parliament, office of MEP Siegfried Mureșan
Accredited Parliamentary Assistant, office of MEP Siegfried Mureșan