Maria Luiza FIDELIS SILVA1, PatrÃcia Cristina de Oliveira LOPES FREITAS1, Sheilla de Oliveira FARIA2, Maria Claudia BERNARDES SPEXOTO1
Introduction: Among the proposed treatments for cancer, chemotherapy is the most common. Due to the symptoms and toxicity triggered by chemotherapy, patients may experience reduced food intake, which may exacerbate or further reduce the immune system’s ability to respond to treatment and protein calorie malnutrition.
Objective: To evaluate the consumption of energy, macronutrients and antioxidants of patients with cancer in clinical treatment and compare it with the nutritional recommendations.
Methods: Cross-sectional study with non-probabilistic sample design. The food frequency questionnaire was used to evaluate weekly food consumption. The consumption of energy, macronutrients and antioxidant micronutrients was estimated and the intake was compared with the nutritional need, using a 95% confidence interval. The Brazilian Table of Food Composition was used to calculate the amount consumed of each food. For the statistical tests, a 5% significance level was adopted.
Results: In this study, 135 cancer patients participated (64.4% were women). The diagnosis of breast cancer was the most prevalent (29.6%) and 45.5% were overweight. The consumption of energy and macronutrients, in both sexes, did not reach the recommended level, as well as the antioxidants vitamin E and selenium. Zinc consumption was also below that recommended for men. Fresh fruits (78.5%), vegetables (76.3%) and rice (76.3%) were the foods consumed daily by most patients.
Discussion: The inadequate consumption of zinc, selenium, vitamin E, macronutrients and calories found, may indicate the need to reinforce the activities of food and nutrition education in this population, given the importance of energy balance and other nutrients for the maintenance and/or recovery of nutritional status.
Conclusion: The dietary intake of evaluated cancer patients did not reach the recommended levels of energy, macronutrients and some antioxidant micronutrients. Inadequate intake is a cause for concern, as it is an important component to assist in treatment and recovery of patients.