In a study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Francesca Gany, MD, MS, and colleagues found that food interventions were associated with high rates of cancer treatment completion rates among food-insecure patients in New York City (NYC).
The study included 117 patients with food insecurity, defined by score on the 18-item U.S. Department of Agriculture Household Food Security Survey Module, from 4 NYC safety-net cancer clinics. Patients were randomly assigned to food interventions consisting of a hospital cancer clinic–based food pantry (n = 40), food voucher plus pantry (n = 37), or home grocery delivery plus pantry (n = 40).
The primary outcome measure was cancer treatment completion, with completion by ≥ 90% of patients considered a benchmark for successful intervention. All outcomes were assessed 6 months after initiation of the interventions.
Francesca Gany, MD, MS
Treatment was completed by 94.6% of the voucher/pantry group, 82.5% of the grocery delivery/pantry group, and 77.5% of the pantry group (overall P = .046). Full appointment attendance was observed for 65.7% of the voucher/pantry group, 59.5% of the delivery/pantry group, and 61.8% of the pantry group (overall P = .462).
Food-security scores significantly improved in all groups. Food security was observed for 38.2% of the voucher/pantry group, 53.3% of the delivery/pantry group, and 50% of the pantry group (overall P = .793).
Depression symptom scores on the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and quality-of-life scores on the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General instrument significantly improved from baseline in the delivery/pantry group and pantry group.
The investigators concluded, “Our findings in this preliminary study suggest that voucher plus pantry was the most effective intervention at improving treatment completion, and it met our a priori criterion for a promising intervention (≥ 90%). All interventions demonstrated the potential to improve food security among medically underserved food-insecure patients with cancer at risk of impaired nutrition status, reduced quality of life, and poorer survival. All patients with cancer should be screened for food insecurity, with evidence-based food insecurity interventions made available.”
Dr. Gany, of the Immigrant Health & Cancer Disparities Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, is the corresponding author for the Journal of Clinical Oncology article.
Disclosure: The study was supported by The New York State Health Foundation, National Cancer Institute, and others. For full disclosures of the study authors, visit ascopubs.org.The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.