Death from malnutrition among Taiwan’s cancer patients
According to nutritionist Tu Yi-chen of the Tumor Center of the Dalin Buddhist Tzu Chi Hospital, in Taiwan, 20% of cancer patients die from malnutrition, not from cancer. Between 40% and 80% of cancer patients lose weight during their course of treatment, while 50% of people show signs of weight loss at time of diagnosis of having cancer. Radiation therapy and oral chemotherapy reduces the patients’ appetite. According to the nutritionist, multiple meals in smaller portions and a wiser choice of foods that are rich in necessary nutrients are important to prevent malnutrition due to a loss of appetite among cancer patients. There is somehow a strong belief among cancer patients that by not eating or by limiting food intake, one can “starve” the cancer cells and prevent the further spread of malignant cancer cells. The nutritionist says this belief is wrong.