Uniting voices and taking action for World Cancer Day 2023!

At Nutricia, we believe that every patient journey is unique, and we know the importance of appropriate nutritional support at each step of the way. Cancer and its treatment can change the way food tastes, the way you eat, how well your body absorbs and uses nutrients. As a result, up to 65% of cancer patients will be affected by malnutrition at some point during their disease1. Weight loss is common and adversely impacts treatment, recovery, and patient outcomes. Good nutrition is an essential part of your overall care. It helps keep your body strong throughout treatment and into recovery.

Learn more on the importance of nutrition along your journey and how to recognise the signs and symptoms of malnutrition.

Better nutrition for more good days

This year we bring you a story with a deep dive with cancer patients into their “good” and “bad” days, particularly in relation to weight, food intake, and medical nutrition. Nutricia brings to life the voices of these patients who, although different from each other, share many common feelings and experiences.

Read more

How can you take action? Check for signs and symptoms!

Weight loss is one of the most common side effects of cancer. Between 30% and 80% of patients may lose weight at some point during their disease2. There are lots of reasons why you could lose weight when going through cancer. Before and especially during treatment, you may not feel like eating or drinking because of a lack of appetite, mouth ulcers, nausea, vomiting, or taste changes. Taste and smell changes are extremely common, affecting up to 70% of people with cancer during treatment3. These taste and smell changes matter because they interfere with enjoyment of eating and drinking and cause you to eat and drink less than normal – meaning that your body doesn’t get all the nutrition it needs4,5. Taste changes lead to a 20–25% reduction in calories ingested each day, resulting in weight loss4,5. Without adequate nutrition, your body will be less able to cope with both the cancer and its treatment, reducing the chance of a successful treatment6.

If you are worried about unexplained weight loss or a poor appetite, either for yourself or for someone you care for, here are some things you can do: 

Are you skipping meals?
Struggling to eat or drink?
Are you losing weight?
Speak to your health care professionals!

What can you do?

  • Regularly check and keep track of your weight
  • Calculate your BMI Managing Malnutrition: All Resources
  • Fill out this Screening tool or Checklist which you can help you check whether you are a healthy weight, and whether you are at risk of becoming malnourished.
  • Check out these leaflets for more tips and tricks!
  • Try small, frequent meals or snacks instead (say every 2 hours) and make the most of when you feel hungry
  • Eating a wide variety of foods gives us the nutrients we need including vitamins and minerals
  • Sometimes it can be difficult to remember what you’ve eaten or how you were feeling. To help you keep track of good days and not so good days try using the wellbeing diary
  • Make a note of whether you’ve been able to keep up your usual activities.

Start the conversation!​

You don’t need to wait to be asked about your diet: It’s ok for you to start the conversation about eating and drinking. Speak with your doctor, nurse, or dietitian if you notice any of the above symptoms or side effects or if you notice that you are losing weight, skipping meals or are unable to eat as much as you could before your diagnosis. It’s important to raise any concerns that you have regarding nutrition. Multi-disciplinary teams, including healthcare professionals from different specialties, are key and can support you during this journey. 

There are more ways to take action! 


Let’s start a conversation!

Cancer is a complex topic surrounded by many questions. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at this brochure.

View guide

Action Toolkit!

Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide7. Together, we can change that. Learn more on how to take action!

Download brochure

Make an impact!

Use your voice and your conversations to unify the people you speak with to create positive change and to ignite action.

View guide

Helpful brochures have been created by the World Cancer Day organization led by the UICC. Take a look at the WCD website to learn more and download these brochures.

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Cancer and weight loss

Keeping physically strong during cancer can be tough; the side effects of the disease and its treatment can take a toll on the body, negatively affecting appetite, the way we taste food and even the way our body absorbs nutrients. For many cancer patients (30-80%[9]) this leads to weight loss. Importantly, the majority of the weight lost by cancer patients is muscle[10] – or ‘lean body mass’ – the protective tissue needed to keep the body strong and withstand treatment. Losing a significant amount of weight can even delay treatment[11-13]


Helping cancer patients stay strong for the road ahead

It may be the last thing on many patients’ minds, but nutrition is an essential part of cancer care, an important element that could help support better outcomes. For more information on how to make sure the body is getting enough of the right nutrition, as well as how to talk to a healthcare professional about your nutritional concerns, visit our dedicated information hub for patients.