Malnutrition in children afflicted with cancer.
Malnutrition is one of the main reasons for reduced survival rates amongst children with cancer: A study from AIIMS, New Delhi, pegged undernourishment for child cancer patients at 30-40%. The prevalence of malnutrition in children with cancer is a significant cause of decreased survival, especially in low-income countries.
- Reduced survival: In India, approximately 30%-50% of children with cancer are diagnosed with severe-acute malnutrition at diagnosis. The WHO reports that one third of deaths from cancer are attributed to behavioral and dietary risks.
- Increased abandonment of therapy: Abandonment of therapy is more likely in children who are malnourished compared to well-nourished children. Nutritional diets and supportive care reduce treatment dropout rates by over 80% among children with cancer.
- Increased side-effects: Nutritional status impacts side-effects from therapy.