Evolving Foundations

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

Jinbing Bai

Wenhui Zhang

Zahra Amirkhanzadeh Barandouzir

gut microbiome, microbiome dysbiosis, psychoneurologic toxicities, cancer treatment
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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