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Nicolò Peccatori
Roberta Ortiz
Emanuela Rossi
Patricia Calderon
Valentino Conter
Yesly Garcia
Andrea Biondi
Darrel Espinoza
Francesco Ceppi
Luvy Mendieta
Maria Luisa Melzi


Childhood cancer, nutrition, low-middle-income countries


Background and objectives. The prevalence of malnutrition in children diagnosed with malignant tumors in Nicaragua has been reported to be 67%. Thus, a nutritional program for children with cancer has been developed at the Children’s Hospital Manuel de Jesus Rivera (Managua, Nicaragua).

Methods. A qualified nutritionist evaluated all patients and prescribed oral/enteral supplementation. The nutritional assessment was based on weight, height or length, mid upper arm circumference (MUAC) and triceps skin fold thickness (TSFT). In this descriptive study, pre and post-nutritional intervention data were compared and analyzed in terms of event free survival.

Results. 104 patients (median age 7.0 years, 52 with leukemia/lymphoma and 52 with solid tumor) underwent oral/enteral nutritional supplementation; 64 of these patients had pre and post supplementation nutritional assessment. Overall, 55% of patients in the leukemia/lymphoma group and the 35% in the solid tumor group improved their condition or remained in an adequately nourished status.

Conclusion. This experience demonstrates that nutritional supplementation in pediatric cancer patients who are inadequately nourished is feasible also in countries with limited resources and is effective in improving the nutritional conditions.


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