Body composition of children with cancer during treatment and in survivorship

Alexia J Murphy, Melinda White, Sarah A Elliott, Liane Lockwood, Andrew Hallahan, Peter SW Davies
  • American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2015, Oxford University Press (OUP)
  • DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.114.099697

Body composition in Childhood Cancer

What is it about?

This study has revealed that the body composition of children is affected by the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, with both obesity and under nutrition a concern that is evident during treatment and in survivorship. In particular this study has highlighted the fact that reduced functional cell mass, not just excess fat mass, should be a focus of childhood cancer survivorship intervention and that both maintaining functional cell mass and preventing increases in fat mass should have significant emphasis during childhood cancer treatment.

Why is it important?

Malnutrition is an under recognised potential complication of cancer in children. During treatment malnutrition can lead to clinical complications and in the long term for childhood cancer survivors malnutrition is associated with the development of endocrine, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, and cardiovascular complications as well as poor quality of life and increased risk of death. Energy balance education and interventions must be a vital consideration during childhood cancer treatment to prevent malnutrition and in survivorship to promote long term health.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Alexia J Murphy