Cancer is recognized as an increasing problem in several countries in Africa. Yet, the number of studies on cancer in African countries is low, while there is an urgent need for studies on the incidence, treatment and prognosis of cancer. The current project sets out to provide more information on the role of nutrition during and after cancer treatment of breast cancer patients in Nairobi, Kenya.
Malnutrition is a common problem in advanced cancer patients. It can lead to higher incidence and severity of side effects, as a result, there is a risk that patients cannot complete treatment. Ultimately, this may lead to an increase in morbidity, and lower survival. Nutritional care may help cancer patients to maintain or improve nutritional status, body weight and muscle mass, offering relief from side effects and possibly improving the efficacy of chemotherapy. However, trials that support that nutrition can indeed affect treatment efficacy are currently lacking.
The project contains several studies. The first descriptive study aims to assess the epidemiology of breast cancer in Kenya. The second study assesses the nutritional status of breast cancer patients during and after chemotherapy and radiotherapy for advanced breast cancer, to identify potential leads for intervention to improve nutritional status. Based on the results of these first two studies, a pilot food product will be developed to support breast cancer patients during therapy.