Purpose: The mission of US Comprehensive Cancer Centers (CCC) is to reduce cancer morbidity and mortality. The type of clinical nutrition services available to outpatients seeking treatment at CCCs is unknown. The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to determine the prevalence and types of outpatient clinical nutrition services available at CCCs. Methods: A list of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) -designated CCCs was compiled. A telephone survey that queried clinical nutrition services available to outpatients undergoing treatment was developed. The survey was conducted with clinical nutrition personnel during usual working hours between April and October 2012. Results: Of the 40 CCCs, 32 (80%) completed the survey. Thirty CCCs offered referral- or consult-based services with a clinical nutrition professional such as a registered dietitian (RD). Other services included nutrition classes (56%), nutrition pamphlets (94%), and counseling by non-nutrition health care providers (81%). Twenty-three of the centers monitored patients regularly, but less than half followed a clinical nutrition protocol such as those established by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Referral-based services were provided for cancers with a high prevalence of malnutrition, such as head and neck and GI, with most monitoring patients regularly but less than half using evidence-based protocols. Conclusion: CCCs rely on referral-based clinical nutrition service, which are not consistently a part of multidisciplinary care. An in-depth comparison of clinical nutrition services among other approaches to cancer care, including a comparison of clinical outcomes among these different approaches, is needed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy