Exploration of current dietetic practices for patients with gynaecological cancers undergoing radiotherapy in Australia: a cross-sectional survey

Emilie Croisier, Kelly D’cunha, Teresa Brown, Judy Bauer

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Purpose: Radiotherapy for gynaecological cancers often causes gastrointestinal (GI) toxicities such as diarrhoea. Evidence for the potential benefits of dietary interventions on the management of acute GI toxicities is inconclusive and of low quality, with no clear evidence-based guidelines to inform clinical practice. This study aims to provide an overview of current opinions and clinical practice of dietitians treating this cohort and to examine existing models of nutrition care in Australian cancer centres. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted over a video conferencing service to collect information relating to: demographic characteristics; referral protocol and post-treatment pathways; management strategies and interventions prescribed; and attitudes and confidence in service provided. Descriptive analysis was performed on quantitative data, and thematic analysis was performed on qualitative data. Results: In total, 17 dietitians across Australia participated in the study. Almost all centres (94%) had dietetics services available for this patient cohort; however, most did not have an automatic referral pathway (94%) or post-treatment pathway (88%). The opinions and prescription of dietary interventions for symptom management had multiple variations of a ‘low’ or ‘modified-fibre’ diet with differing ratios of soluble and insoluble fibre. Over half of the respondents believed that practice was not standardized within their workplace (58%) or Australia (82%). Conclusion: There are variations in service provision with respect to opinions and prescription of dietary modifications within dietetic practice across Australia. The present study highlights the need to investigate the efficacy of dietary interventions on symptom management to better inform evidence-based models of care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6171-6174
Number of pages4
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Diarrhoea
  • Dietary intervention
  • Fibre
  • Gynaecology cancer
  • Nutrition care
  • Radiotherapy

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