Wednesday 24th June 2015
Mac Voice, the magazine for Macmillan professionals: Summer 2015
Lindsey Bottle was part of a group that developed Macmillan’s four nutritional top tip resources for primary care professionals
Macmillan has a comprehensive set of ‘10 top tips’ resources for professionals working in primary care. These resources are developed by Macmillan GP advisers in partnership with professionals working in primary care. They cover topics ranging from managing fatigue and metastatic spinal cord compression, to supporting carers.
Earlier this year the decision was made to revise the existing 10 top tips for managing anorexia and cachexia, to ensure GPs have the most up-to-date and evidenced-based information on the nutritional management of people with cancer.
A working party was set up, including the two Macmillan GP advisers who worked on the original document, Dr Terry Bowley and Dr Stephen Bevan. I provided dietetic input along with Mhairi Donald, Macmillan Consultant Dietitian at Sussex Cancer Centre, and Sian Lewis, Macmillan Head and Neck Project Manager at the NHS Central Southern Commissioning Support Unit. We were ably supported by Andy Murphy, Support Coordinator for the Medical Communities of Influence Team at Macmillan, who facilitated the whole process.
Following a productive day in London last August, the decision was made to expand the information to a series of four 10 top tips about different stages.
Nutrition at each stage
Under the overall title of Nutrition for each stage of the cancer pathway, the resources are:
1. During cancer treatment
2. Post-treatment and recovery
3. Advanced cancer/end of life
4. Living with and beyond cancer
The first three resources include advice on:
- weight management
- symptom control to enable increased food intake
- food fortification
- soft diets for dysphagia
- managing carer and family expectations
- when to refer to other health care professionals (including dietitians)
The first three resources also look at how and when to access starter packs of nutritional supplements, if required. They signpost to Macmillan resources aimed at people affected by cancer, including the Healthy eating and cancer and The building-up diet booklets.
The fourth ‘Living with and beyond cancer’ tips are taken from Macmillan’s Eat Well, Feel Good learning and development toolkit, which was produced by Jill Scott, a dietitan and Macmillan Associate Learning and Development Manager, in collaboration with the British Dietetic Association (BDA). The tips use recommendations from the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research.
The tips have all been endorsed by the BDA and the BDA Oncology Specialist Group. They were launched at the Macmillan Primary Care Conference last November, attracting much discussion. Many of the GPs commented that they do not have access to specialist oncology dietitians, and so were very positive about how these resources can be used in practice to help both them and people with cancer.
We hope that these tips will help to raise the profile of nutrition in people affected by cancer, while enabling all healthcare professionals to have conversations about food and diet.
The tips can be accessed on the Macmillan website at macmillan.org.uk/gpresources.
1. World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research. Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective. 2007.
Macmillan Oncology Dietitian
Royal Surrey County Hospital