Astronaut food could save the lives of cancer patients

The cancer-related wasting and malnutrition described as tumor cachexia had a significant impact on survival and quality of life as early as 1932. Against this backdrop, the German Institute for Nutritional Medicine and Dietetics (DIET) in Bad Aachen today calls for the increased use of astronaut food and energy- and protein-rich foods even in the early stages of cancer, according to Birgit Junghans, graduate oecotrophologist at the Aachen Institute. Cancer patients must not lose weight, says the spokesman of the institute Sven-David Müller, because the patient starves to death before the tumor.

20 percent of cancer patient deaths are attributable to malnutrition alone

Cancer is a consuming disease that significantly increases energy requirements. This would have to be taken into account through an energy and protein-rich diet and astronaut diet. Many cancer patients get into a terrifying nutritional state due to the tumor-induced catabolism with low nutrient intake. Resting turnover is increased in carcinoma patients compared to healthy people and depends on the size and position of the tumor as well as on accompanying inflammatory processes.

On a weakened by wasting and undersupply body hit the known disease-related burden of chemotherapy and radiation therapies, which are both physical and psychological. Lack of appetite, nausea, odor sensitivity, aversion to fat, but also inflammation of the oral mucosa cause the patient to take significantly less energy. Malnutrition favors a number of immediate and immediate complications:

  • Muscle weakness (weak respiratory muscles favor pneumonia)
  • Immobility (dissection of decubitus and increased risk of thrombosis)
  • Immunodeficiency (increased susceptibility to infection and poorer wound healing)
  • Fatigue and poor general condition lead to further weight loss

Better chances are having chemotherapy or radiotherapy if the patient is in a sufficient nutritional status

According to deWys 1980 and Tchekmedyian 1991, cancer patients experience a weight loss of between 6 and 30 percent in the first 6 months after initiation of therapy, depending on the location of the tumor. Such patients are in urgent need of additional support from astronaut diets to provide nearly adequate nutrient supply, Junghans said. A good nutritional status is a prerequisite to survive the physical strain associated with and treatment of this condition. Junghans therefore considers it extremely important to build up the patient by astronaut diet in the form of drinking or tube feeding before the start of chemotherapy or radiation treatment, thus preventing the expected deficits in food intake during these treatments.

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