Understanding determinants of malnutrition, sarcopenia and frailty in people with cancer and their association with mortality.
Malnutrition and sarcopenia are common in people with cancer and may eventually lead to frailty. Malnutrition and sarcopenia are major risk factors for mortality, poorer quality of life and reduced ability to complete treatment in people with cancer. Some of the factors contributing to a higher likelihood of developing malnutrition or sarcopenia are well known such as cancer or treatment type, and older age. However, other factors that may contribute to a higher risk have not been explored, such as the presence of multiple chronic illnesses and level of physical activity.
Diet, along with exercise, is a potential preventative or treatment measure for malnutrition and sarcopenia. At present the dietary and meal patterns that are able to prevent or treat these conditions have not been established.
Our project will identify risk factors for a higher likelihood of developing malnutrition or sarcopenia in people with cancer. Understanding these factors mean that health professionals can identify at risk individuals and ensure they receive the support they require before they can adversely affect health. Furthermore, we will establish the type of dietary and meal patterns that help prevent or treat malnutrition and sarcopenia, meaning that improved treatment can be provided in future.