Nutrition Intervention Effects in Pediatric Oncology
Cancer is the most prevalent non-accidental cause of death in children ages one to 14 years old. Within the realm of pediatric oncology, malnutrition is a common side effect that decreases survival rates of patients. Since malnutrition is such a significant cause of patient deaths, it is important to look closer into how it affects their disease state. Cancer has an additional risk of malnutrition because of the patient’s increased metabolic rate, anorexia, inflammation, and lack of physical activity. Malnutrition in pediatric oncology is associated with treatment delays, increased risk of infection, impaired wound healing, lower quality of life, and inferior treatment tolerance and response. According to the literature, the malnutrition rate for the pediatric oncology patients ranges from less than 10 percent up to 50 percent. The high rate of malnutrition within pediatric oncology patients is concerning. This paper will aim to explore the outcomes of nutrition intervention within the pediatric oncology patient population, types of nutrition interventions, the effects of malnutrition, nutrition screening, meal satisfaction, groups dedicated to pediatric oncology nutrition, and the future of pediatric oncology. Research is needed in order to explore the different types of nutrition intervention such as the benefits of the use of enteral, parenteral, and total parenteral nutrition. The future of pediatric oncology in relation to nutrition is very broad, including advancements in the use of glutamine, antioxidant supplements, and even use of ketogenic diets. Improvements in these areas would potentially lead to better outcomes within the population.