Analgesia accompanying food consumption requires ingestion of hedonic foods.
This article reviews the findings of a research study which investigated the phenomenon of nausea and vomiting in cancer patients receiving radiation therapy. One of the variables studied was nutritional status and how it was related to nausea and vomiting. The relationship between treatment-related emesis and nutritional status is described in two ways: how the patient's nutritional status may have affected the incidence of nausea and vomiting, and how the clinical occurrence of emesis affected the patient's nutritional status. Significant findings included the following. A decrease in appetite was experienced more frequently in patients undergoing therapy of either short (less than 12 days) or long duration (greater than 20 days), in comparison with those patients undergoing therapy of a moderate duration (between 14-20 days) (p = 0.05). A significant relationship was also documented between poor nutritional intake during treatment and a higher incidence of nausea and vomiting (p = 0.01). Another important finding included the fact that those patients who lost more than 5% of their total body weight prior to starting radiotherapy, went on to experience further weight loss during therapy. Recommendations for further research and implications for clinical practice are outlined.