“Advancing nutritional care for patients with cancer in Europe: progress and perspectives” ESPEN Congress

On 13th September 2023, several stakeholders gathered during the ESPEN Congress to present and discuss how advancing nutritional care for patients with cancer in Europe. The 2023 MNI Grant was awarded during the same session.

Key take-aways:

  • “We don’t want to make noise – We want to create a voice!” (Alessandro Laviano, Chair of the ESPEN Task Force on cance). We can only advance cancer care – for the benefit of cancer patient, her/his quality of life, and society as a whole – only by working all together.
  • We now have effective tools to treat cancer-related malnutrition and we all have to be committed to the implementation of nutritional interventions in clinical practice. 
  • What we have available for cancer now, from policies to clinical practise, can be transposed to any other disease or condition to tackle malnutrition.

For those of you who have access to the ESPEN Congress Platform, the video of the session is available until the end of the year (search “stakeholder” in the search field).

Rocco Barazzoni – ESPEN Chair – and Annemieke Van Ginkel-Res – EFAD President (European Federation of Associations of Dietitians) – introduced the importance of nutritional interventions in cancer care and its transfrerrability to other disease areas.

Alessandro Laviano – Chair of the ESPEN Task Force on cancer – moderated the session highlighting the importance of cooperation: we are increasing the survivorship rates but the functional limitations are also increasing; we are better equipped to treat the cancer but less at supporting the patient quality of life overall.

Richard Price – Head of Policy at European Cancer Organisation (ECO) – highlighted the work done at EU policy level and various initiatives and how to include nutritional care into the picture. In particular, he provided details about the INTERACT-EUROPE on inter-speciality cancer training, involving 33 organisations and 17 countries, and to which ESPEN has greatly contributed on nutrition and nutritional care. This training is ready to be launched second-half of September 2023 in more than 100 cancer center in 15 countries in Europe which will enrol during 36 months.

Jann Arends – member of both ESPEN and ESMO (European Society for Medical Oncology) – introduced the relevance of both ESPEN and ESMO guidelines on nutrition for cancer patients and the role of multidisciplinary cooperation. Medical societies benefit from each other work and can build on what is done by several specialties. A graph in the ESMO guideline points out the importance of various actors in cancer care, not only heathcare professionals, to provide an holistic support to cancer patients.

Diana Cardena – ESPEN member – highlighted milestones and progress on the ambitious goal by key PEN societies across the world to establish nutritional care as a human right. ESPEN is in close talks with the World Health Organisation to prepare a policy brief recognising disease-related malnutrition as a disease.

Olle Ljungqvist – Chair of ENHA (European Nutrition for Health Alliance) – introduced the role of ENHA as platform to translate nutrition science into policy and best practices. They aim at enhancing implementation of European initiatives at national level.

Angelika Müller – MNI President – announced that this year MNI, to mark its 15th grant anniversary, awarded not one but two very ambitious projects:

Catherine Hartmann, MNI Executive Director, announced the 2024 MNI Grant criteria which will award €40,000 to initiatives advancing nutritional care. Deadline: 30 April 2023.

Download the presentations here

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