Investigating the nutritional advice and support given to colorectal cancer survivors in the UK: is it fit for purpose and does it address their needs?

Colorectal Cancer

J Hum Nutr Diet. 2020 Sep 20. doi: 10.1111/jhn.12815. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: The present study assessed the quantity and quality of nutritional advice and support given to colorectal cancer survivors in the UK.

METHODS: A descriptive cross-sectional survey was completed by 75 colorectal cancer survivors recruited through social media and bowel cancer support groups in the UK. The survey consisted of open-ended and closed questions that aimed to explore the nutritional needs, nutritional advice given and other sources of information accessed by colorectal cancer survivors.

RESULTS: Sixty-nine percent of respondents reported that they did not receive any nutritional advice or support from their healthcare team throughout diagnosis, treatment and post-treatment. Colorectal cancer survivors accessed nutritional advice from a variety of sources, mainly cancer charity websites. Respondents expressed their desire for individualised advice relating to their nutritional problems.

CONCLUSIONS: The results obtained in the present study indicate that a high proportion of colorectal cancer patients are not receiving the nutritional support that they need to overcome nutritional difficulties. There is an urgent need to improve clinical practice to ensure colorectal patients receive nutritional advice that is both consistent between healthcare professionals and personalised throughout each stage of diagnosis, treatment and post-treatment.