Nutritional status of patients with advanced cancer: the value of using the subjective global assessment of nutritional status as a screening tool

Thoresen, L; Fjeldstad, I; Krogstad, K; Kaasa, S; Falkmer, UG
January 2002
Palliative Medicine;Jan2002, Vol. 16 Issue 1, p33
Academic Journal
In patients suffering from advanced neoplastic disease, malnutrition is a common complication affecting both the survival and quality of life. In order to monitor early dietary interventions, an assessment of patients' nutritional status is essential. We assessed the nutritional status of 46 patients using two different methods: 1) an objective method of nutritional assessment and 2) the subjective global assessment (SGA) technique. It was found that 28 patients were characterized as malnourished by means of the objective method and 30 patients according to the SGA. The correlation of the results of the assessments between the two methods was high and a validation test of the SGA gave a sensitivity of 96% and specificity of 83%. The most frequent symptoms affecting food intake were anorexia, early satiety, dry mouth, pain and nausea. The results show that the SGA represents an easy method for assessment of the nutritional status in such cancer patients and that it can therefore be used as a screening tool. The high incidence of malnutrition in this group of patients, and their rare use of nutrient supplements, both indicate the importance of early nutritional assessment, and nutritional intervention when appropriate.


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