[ Vol. 7 No. 2 ] (May - September 2006 )
Cancer cachexia: Diet

Abirami Vadivel Kumaar1
1Sahanmuga Hospital & Salem Cancer Centre, India


Objectives: Inability of the patients with head and neck carcinoma to consume solid foods and the non-affordability of artificial supplement formulas by the low-income group, results in the development of cancer cachexia. Objective: to design a liquid diet supplying adequate calories and proteins at affordable cost.

Methods: 90 patients (M-79, F-11) diagnosed with cancer (Head & Neck 78% & Esophageal 23%), mean age 56 (2478), mean height 5’ 4” and mean weight 40 kgs undergoing Radiation therapy, unable to swallow solid foods. Average annual per capita income**-115 gms), milk (800 ml), skimmed milk powder (50 gms.), fruit juice (200 ml), date syrup (10 ml), veg soup (400 ml), sugar (50 gms.) and oil (30 gms.).

Results: Initial, rice-porridge + milk + sugar diet provided 1500 kcal and 30 gms of proteins at a cost of Rs.30/-(55 cents) & deficient in micro-nutrients. Artificial protein supplements about 100 gms, would supply an additional 300-350 Kcal & 30-40 gms proteins, at additional cost of $1 or more. The $1 diet plan which is the basis of this presentation is nutritionally well planned diet, supplying around 2100 Kcal, 85 gms of proteins & RDA of various minerals and vitamins at total cost of only $1 per day.

Conclusions: Due to restriction to only liquid diet and their non-affordability of expensive artificial nutritional supplements, most of the patients were cachexic. Introduction of $1 diet improved their nutritional status tremendously, (weight gain, Blood Hb and Serum albumin). * $1 = (approx) Rs.50/- (Indian Currency).** Dhal = Decuticled Legume.

*Contact person email:

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October 1-4 2005
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