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Evolving Foundations

Human Microbiome: Understanding the Role of the Gut Microbiome and Implications for Oncology Nursing Care

Jinbing Bai
Wenhui Zhang
Zahra Amirkhanzadeh Barandouzir
CJON 2021, 25(4), 383-387 DOI: 10.1188/21.CJON.383-387

By understanding the human microbiome and its influencing factors, oncology nurses in clinical practice can educate, screen, and monitor patients with cancer who have a higher risk of gut microbiome dysbiosis. Knowledge of the gut microbiome and its impact on cancer outcomes can help oncology nurses interpret associations between the gut microbiome and treatment- related toxicities and symptoms. Oncology nurses can guide patients to build a healthy gut microbiome across the trajectory of cancer treatment and survivorship.


  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can influence the composition of the gut microbiome and lead to decreases in healthy gut microorganisms and increases in pathologic microbes.
  • Decreases in the diversity and abundance of healthy microbial communities are associated with gastrointestinal symptoms and psychoneurologic toxicities.
  • Oncology nurses can help patients maintain a healthy gut microbiome through following a healthy diet and lifestyle and taking appropriate prebiotics or probiotics.

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