chapter  5
Cancers of the Digestive Tract
Pages 32

Apart from the pain and fear associated with all cancers and their treatment, malignancy of the digestive tract carries with it one particular additional problem, malnutrition. Poor nutrition is a huge subject, and is expanded in detail in a separate chapter (Chapter 11, p. 286), so this chapter should be read in conjunction with Chapter 11. Nutritional problems in digestive cancers stem from several factors. Chief among these factors are that these cancers specifically can cause malabsorption of nutrients by obstructing the digestive tract, and they also cause anorexia (poor or no appetite) by inducing nausea and vomiting. Maintaining nutrition in patients with digestive disorders of this kind becomes a major challenge for nurses and other health-care professionals.