Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Nursing Honours


School of Nursing


Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Advisor

Davina Porock


Nutritional status is a major factor in determining the successful outcome of treatment for cancer. The combined effect of cancer, and the treatment for cancer, has the potential to severely impair nutritional status. The purpose of this study was to investigate the incidence and severity of treatment-related side-effects which affect nutritional status in cancer patients and to determine the sources and helpfulness of information about nutrition which had been utilised by patients. A descriptive study was used to investigate two groups of patients, one group who was receiving chemotherapy, and the other, radiation therapy. A questionnaire developed by the researcher sought information about the occurrence and severity of problems, as rated by patients' self-reports. This study was structured on the theoretical basis of Lazarus and Folkman's theory of stress, appraisal and coping (1984). The diagnosis and treatment for cancer is usually regarded as a stressful event, and this theory posits that patients may use either problem focussed or emotion-focussed coping styles to cope with the situation. The results of this study indicate that nutritional depletion is a serious problem for this group of patients. Weight loss, which is the principal marker of nutritional status, was experienced by more than 85% of the patients. Patients showed evidence of using emotion focussed coping styles, where they often did not seek information about nutrition, and considered they had “no real problems” Information from this study may assist healthcare teams who care for patients who are receiving treatment for cancer to focus more on nutrition, and develop educational programmes which meet the needs of these patients more effectively. This information, including patients1 self reports and recommendations, may also assist the Cancer Foundation of Western Australia to develop a booklet which is specifically designed for cancer patients who are receiving treatment and who experience nutritional problems.

Included in

Oncology Commons