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Results of First-of-Its-Kind Cancer Nutrition Research Project to Be Released

November 19, 2013

A group of the nation’s leading cancer institutions is set to release the findings of a two-year study focused on nutrition and food preferences among patients receiving cancer treatment on Nov. 19 at Boston’s TD Garden.

Study May Help Millions Diagnosed and Treated for Cancer Each Year

Press Conference to Be Held in Boston on Tuesday, November 19

Top Cancer Centers and Private Industry to Launch Innovative Cancer Nutrition Consortium

BOSTON (Nov. 19, 2013)— A group of the nation’s leading cancer institutions is set to release the findings of a two-year study focused on nutrition and food preferences among patients receiving cancer treatment on Nov. 19 at Boston’s TD Garden.

In addition, the newly-created Cancer Nutrition Consortium will make its debut as a part of the two-day event. The group was formed to look at the issue of proper nutrition during cancer treatment, with a focus on improving the quality of life of cancer patients through nutrition. The launch of the Cancer Nutrition Consortium will be supported by representatives from the world’s leading cancer centers and corporations as well as renowned physicians, chefs and nutritionists.

This study is the product of an unprecedented collaboration between seven of the world’s leading cancer centers, spearheaded by Dr. Bruce Moskowitz of the Bruce and Marsha Moskowitz Foundation. The medical centers that participated: New York University Clinical Cancer Center, Dana Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at John Hopkins, University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Cedars-Sinai/Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, and Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Jeremy Jacobs, chairman and CEO of Delaware North and owner of the Boston Bruins, supported this effort through a generous underwriting and through his company’s resources. Delaware North is a global food service and hospitality company.

“Over the years, I have watched many of my patients struggle with eating and proper nutrition when they are undergoing cancer treatment,” said Dr. Bruce Moskowitz, the founder of the effort. “I finally decided I need to do something about it and engaged some of the best and brightest minds to focus on this important area. This study will help millions of people going through cancer treatment, and it’s just the beginning. We expect to work with other organizations and entities to bring cancer nutrition to the mainstream.”

“As a nutritional researcher working with Dr. Moskowitz, I was surprised about the lack of knowledge about feeding cancer patients undergoing outpatient treatments,” said nutritional consultant Stacey Bell, who contributed to the study. “This is the first report, which includes information on all aspects of nutrition including foods consumed or avoided, changes in weight, and the incidence of secondary complications like gastrointestinal disorders.”

“This effort is truly groundbreaking,” said Terry Langbaum, chief operating officer for Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. “We do a lot of multi-center research trials, but I’m not aware of any multi-center research effort that focused on nutrition the way this one did. Many of our patients suffer from problems getting adequate nutrition through treatment, and some of them are unsure about what they should be eating. This research study involved the patients and truly helped us to better understand food and beverage preferences, and has allowed our chefs and the industry to rally behind these results and create solutions that will help millions of people going through cancer treatment each year.”

“Dr. Moskowitz shared his vision for bringing cancer nutrition to the forefront in the food service industry. Delaware North is a food service company,” said Delaware North’s Jacobs. “It was an easy commitment to make: if we could use our resources to make a difference in the lives of those battling cancer, we would. When I found out the quality of the centers involved, it made the decision to participate even easier, as I knew the effort would be world-class.”

The Cancer Nutrition Consortium research study focused on patient preferences and issues related to their ability to eat and drink while undergoing cancer treatment, including chemotherapy and radiation. In addition, chefs — including Master Chefs Ron DeSantis and Roland Henin — participated in the effort, with support from the Culinary Institute of America, Delaware North and Rich Products as well as culinary teams from each of the cancer centers. From the study, these chefs created recipes that will be released as part of the Nov. 19 event.

“Nutrition is so important to the patient’s quality of life during cancer treatment,” said Kathy McManus, MS, RD, LDN, Director of Nutrition Department, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “This effort allowed us to learn more about patient’s preferences and then partner with some of the country’s top chefs to create recipes that are designed to be nutritionally beneficial to them while at the same time taste great. This truly has been an incredible effort.”

Based on more than 1,200 surveys from participating medical centers, the Cancer Nutrition Consortium research study found a strong need for special nutritional care and diet management among cancer patients undergoing treatment — especially since a common side effect of cancer treatment is the loss of appetite and energy. Patients who have less energy or who have lost weight unintentionally since beginning treatment are also the most likely to have decreased appetites and lower food consumption, despite being the ones most in need of nutrition. The majority of cancer patients struggle with nutrition during treatment, and symptoms during treatment can include decreased or increased appetite, altered taste and smell, early satiety, mouth sores, nausea, extreme fatigue, constipation/diarrhea and other symptoms. This research study explores the impact of taste and smell on nutritional intake and quality of life, and includes questions about consumption of food, intake of fluids, food preparation and barriers to cooking and shopping for food during cancer treatment.

The Cancer Nutrition Consortium’s mission is to focus on creating useful resources and information that will help those going through cancer treatment. The first phase of the project includes a launch of a website featuring practical solutions, including exclusive recipes from chefs (including master and celebrity chefs), access to advice, the latest nutritional information, and information for family members or caregivers who may be challenged with preparing nutritional meals for their loved ones going through cancer treatment. This will be an invaluable nutritional resource for cancer patients, clinicians, hospitals, and caregivers alike. The second phase will include a cancer nutrition training program for chefs at the Culinary Institute of America as well as partnerships with grocery chains, restaurants and packaged food companies to eventually bring cancer treatment-friendly foods to the mainstream.

WHAT: The official launch of the Cancer Nutrition Consortium
WHEN: November 19, 2013 11:15 a.m. Legends Club
WHERE: Boston’s TD Garden, 100 Legends Way, Boston, MA 02114