Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify the extent of actual malnutrition and its risk among cancer patients receiving radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy in the Libyan city of Benghazi. Design/methodology/approach – A cross‐sectional nutritional assessment study using the patient‐generated subjective global assessment (PG‐SGA) was carried out on 200 (91 males and 109 females) cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. Findings – A total of 25 per cent of the subjects were severely malnourished while 73.5 per cent were either at risk of malnutrition or suspected to be malnourished. Almost all (99.5 per cent) needed some degree of intervention (critical in nature for 83.5 per cent). Family income and physical activity were associated with nutritional status ( p <0.05). Body Mass Index alone is an insensitive criterion for identifying malnutrition among such patients. All the sections and subsections of the PG‐SGA had a statistically significant positively correlation with its total score ( r =0.51‐0.96, p <0.05). Dieticians played a very limited role in patient nutritional care. Practical implications – It is suggested that dieticians should play a more participatory and prominent role in a multidisciplinary team involved in patient nutritional care. The PG‐SGA can help identify areas where tailor made strategies to counteract specific malnutrition or its risk can be planned, implemented and monitored. Originality/value – There exists a considerable prevalence of malnutrition among Benghazi cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy, most of whom need critical intervention.
Nutrition & Food Science – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 13, 2011
Keywords: Nutritional assessment; PG‐SGA; Malnutrition; Chemotherapy patients; Radiotherapy patients; Oncology patients; Cancer; Libya