A study looking into weight loss in patients with incurable lung cancer has started at Royal Surrey County Hospital.
Researchers will explore how common it is for this group of patients to experience weight loss before they start treatment and how this could affect their quality of life.
It will also scrutinise whether doctors are able to predict outcomes using a number of simple diagnostic tests and measures before the individual commences chemotherapy.
In total the study aims to recruit 100 patients, who will come largely from the Royal Surrey, with support from neighbouring Trusts.
During a single appointment participants will undergo a series of short tests, including questionnaires, muscle and breathing function, as well as an image assessment of their muscle loss.
They will then receive relevant nutrition advice from the hospital’s team of experienced oncology dieticians before starting chemotherapy treatment.
Researchers will then monitor the patient’s progress six months and a year later.
The study is being led by research fellow Dr Iain Phillips, supported by the Trust’s team of experienced general oncology dieticians.
He said: “Put simply, the study will look at if losing a lot of weight before the commencement of treatment affects the quality of life and outcomes for this particular group of patients.
“When people lose a lot of weight very quickly it can be the first visible sign that they are unwell.
“Cancer patients can sometimes feel like they don’t have a lot of control over their treatment, but this is one intervention that they can have control of.”