Malnutrition in Victorian Cancer Services (MVCS) Program

The Malnutrition in Victorian Cancer Services (MVCS) collaborative group convened in 2011 and commenced with representation from 15 Victorian health services across both public and private sectors with leadership and project oversight provided by the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre nutrition department. Funding has been provided for each project phase by the Cancer Strategy and Development Unit at the Department of Health (DH). This group have undertaken a number of initiatives since 2011 to address cancer malnutrition.

Phase I Investigating Practices Relating to Malnutrition in Victorian Cancer Services (2011-2012) included a state-wide cancer malnutrition point prevalence study and clinician and organisational surveys of cancer malnutrition awareness and governance practices. This resulted in improved understanding of the prevalence of cancer malnutrition and barriers and enablers to quality nutrition care, and highlighted the ongoing attention required for this supportive care need. Phase I summary report.

Phase II MCVS (2013-2014) involved a repeat point prevalence study, development of a cancer malnutrition eLearning package and malnutrition governance toolkit, and 17 local health service based initiatives targeting identified areas of need. These initiatives have improved the clinical outcomes of patients with cancer and enhanced the experience of patients and their families as they navigate their way through complex diagnostic and treatment services. Health professionals and clinical services have also benefited from this program of work through the piloting and embedding of new models of care and care pathways, enhanced focus on the nutritional needs of patients with cancer, and an improved awareness of cancer malnutrition.  Phase II summary report.

Phase III MVCS (2016-2017) comprised five collaborative state-wide projects focused on sustainable outcomes. These projects have demonstrated the large reach, uptake and knowledge transfer of the malnutrition eLearning packages and the malnutrition governance toolkit, and taken these resources to the next step of embedding them into usual care within the health sector. Sustainable methodology for the repeat cancer malnutrition point prevalence study was established and a 2016 dataset created. An exploration of the requirements to improve methods of malnutrition identification for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) populations was completed, with a funding proposal prepared to translate the Malnutrition Screening Tool and associated education resources into the top 10 preferred languages other than English in Victoria. And finally, patient food service models were evaluated, with three key food service domains of care identified to best support food provision and nutrition care for cancer patients.

MVCS (2017-2018) is currently underway and aims to partner with primary care and community sectors to better understand education needs in regards to cancer malnutrition, share learning and target resources to improve nutrition care for patients between hospital and home. This project also seeks to promote the value of cancer malnutrition as a mandatory quality and risk indicator across all health sectors in Victoria. 


Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre


Department of Health, Victoria

Principal Investigator/s

Ms Jenelle Loeliger, Head of Department

Contact details

Ms Jenelle Loeliger

Principle Investigator - Head of Department, Nutrition

Email: [email protected]

Publications, presentations and other

Phase I

  • European Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition Conference, 2012
  • Australian Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition Conference, 2012
  • Clinical Oncology Society of Australia Conference, 2012
  • International Congress of Dietetics, 2012
  • Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre Allied Health Symposium, 2012
  • Talking about the ‘C’ word, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, 2013

Phase II

  • Dietitians Association of Australia Conference 2015
  • National Allied Health Conference 2015
  • Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer Conference 2015
  • Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre Allied Health Symposium, 2015
  • Clinical Oncology Society of Australia Conference 2014
  • International Congress of Dietetics 2016

Phase III

  • Clinical Oncology Society of Australasia Conference 2016
  • Australian Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition 2017
  • Clinical Oncology Society of Australasia Conference 2017
  • Dietitians Association of Australia 2017
  • Victorian Allied Health Research Conference 2017
  • Victorian Integrated Cancer Services Conference 2017
  • Talking about the “C” word , Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre 2017
  • Doyle, E., Simmance, N., Wilding, H. and Porter, J. (2017), Systematic review and meta-analyses of foodservice interventions and their effect on nutritional outcomes and satisfaction of adult oncology patients. Nutr Diet, 74: 116-128.
Project group: 
Nutrition Research