The provision of nutritional advice and care for cancer patients: a UK national survey of healthcare professionals

Jane L. Murphy, Fehmidah Munir, Fiona Davey, Laura Miller, Ramsey Cutress, Rhys White, Megan Lloyd, Justin Roe, Carol Granger, Sorrel Burden, Lesley Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: People living with and beyond cancer often experience nutrition-related issues and should receive appropriate advice on nutrition that is consistent and evidence based. The aim of this study was to investigate current practice for the provision of nutritional care by healthcare professionals (HCPs) from a UK national survey produced by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Cancer and Nutrition Collaboration. Methods: An online survey sent to professional groups and networks included questions on discussing nutrition, providing information, awareness of guidelines, confidence in providing nutritional advice, training and strategies for improving nutritional management. Results: There were 610 HCPs who responded including nurses (31%), dietitians (25%), doctors (31%) and speech and language therapists (9%). The majority of HCPs discusses nutrition (94%) and provides information on nutrition (77%). However, only 39% of HCPs reported being aware of nutritional guidelines, and just 20% were completely confident in providing nutritional advice. Awareness of guidelines varied between the different professional groups with most but not all dietitians reporting the greatest awareness of guidelines and GPs the least (p = 0.001). Those HCPs with a greater awareness of guidelines had received training (p = 0.001) and were more likely to report complete confidence in providing nutritional advice (p = 0.001). Conclusion: Whilst HCPs discuss nutrition with cancer patients and may provide information, many lack an awareness of guidelines and confidence in providing nutritional advice. To ensure consistency of practice and improvements in patient care, there is scope for enhancing the provision of appropriate nutrition education and training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2435-2442
Number of pages8
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Cancer
  • Guidelines
  • Healthcare professional
  • Nutrition
  • Nutritional advice
  • Survey


Dive into the research topics of 'The provision of nutritional advice and care for cancer patients: a UK national survey of healthcare professionals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this