Malnutrition in its broadest sense poses serious challenges in the management of children, teenagers and young adults (CTYA) throughout their cancer journey, from prior to diagnosis into long‐term survivorship. Poor nutritional state arising from either the underlying disease process or its treatment has been shown to influence the tolerance to the disease, the response to treatment, susceptibility to infection, quality of life and overall survival. These effects may be evident during treatment, but also as late effects once treatment is completed.
The first international workshop on nutrition and cancer in children, held in Puebla, Mexico in 1998, under the auspices of UICC on ‘Nutritional Morbidity in Children with Cancer: Mechanisms, Measures and Management’ had three objectives: to develop a consensus on the nature and magnitude of the challenges, to explore possible solutions, and to set goals and priorities in research. Since that time, there have been notable improvements in childhood cancer outcomes in high-income countries (HICs), although much less so in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, our understanding of the mechanisms by which poor nutritional state influences the resilience to disease, response to treatment, and outcomes for children with cancer remain unclear as does how best to organise and deliver nutritional care to mitigate these effects.
There is a need to revisit the ambitions of the first UICC workshop and share our current understanding, experience and current research activity in nutrition and childhood cancer. Therefore, through this Special Focus Dialogue, the International Collaboration on Nutrition in relation to Cancer (ICONIC) explored possible opportunities to work together to review the key priorities for research to improve care, promote responses to treatment and improve the long-term health after treatment in both HICs and LMICs.
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