Chiayi County Dalin Tzu Chi Hospital Cancer Center dietitian Tu Yi-chen (凃宜辰) said that a majority of cancer patients are misinformed about proper diet during treatment, UDN reported. She noted that 40-80% of cancer patients in Taiwan believe that it’s possible to starve cancer cells. About half of all patients experience significant weight loss during treatment, some due to the perception that they should starve the cancer cells.
Due to this misinformation, some 20% of cancer patients die from malnutrition rather than the disease.
Tu said that because patients undergoing treatment such as chemotherapy experience loss of appetite, the patients should change their diets to include more smaller meals rather than three regular meals per day. She added that nutritional supplements may be needed in some cases.
There are about 78,000 new cancer cases in Taiwan each year, with a mortality rate of 41,100. Last year the Ministry of Health and Welfare stated that there is a new cancer case in Taiwan every 5 minutes and 26 seconds.