Monday, 12 April 2021 - 02:00

Special Focus Dialogue - Nutrition and cancer in children, teens and young adults: current understanding and future opportunities


Nutrition and cancer in children, teens and young adults: Current understanding and future opportunities

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.

This session was held in collaboration with 



  • Assoc Professor Stephen Wootton, NIHR Cancer and Nutrition, University of Southampton, UK (moderator)​
  • Professor Mike Stevens, NIHR Cancer and Nutrition CTYA Workstream Lead, University of Bristol, UK
  • Professor Ronnie Barr, International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) Nutrition Chair,  McMaster University, Canada
  • Dr Marc Gunter, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Imperial College, University of London
  • Dr Alexia Alford, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
  • Professor Wim Tissing, International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP)  and HIC Nutrition, University of Groningen
  • Assoc Professor Elena Ladas, International Initiative for Paediatrics and Nutrition (IIPAN), Columbia University
  • Dr Karina Viani, International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) LMIC Nutrition Chair, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
  • Erin Gordon, International Society of Pediatric Oncology (SIOP) HIC Nutrition, co-chair; Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, USA

Event Information

Union for International Cancer Control (UICC)
Date and time

Virtual event - online | recorded in
1202 Geneva

Last update

Thursday 13 July 2023

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