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Malnutrition is prevalent among patients within certain cancer types. There is lack of universal standard of care for nutrition screening and a lack of agreement on an operational definition and on validity of malnutrition indicators.In a secondary data analysis, we investigated prevalence of malnutrition diagnosis with 3 classification methods using data from medical records of a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center.Records of 227 patients hospitalized during 1998 with head and neck, gastrointestinal, or lung cancer were reviewed for malnutrition based on 3 methods: (1) physician-diagnosed malnutrition-related International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision codes; (2) in-hospital nutritional assessment summaries conducted by registered dietitians; and (3) body mass indexes (BMIs). For patients with multiple admissions, only data from the first hospitalization were included.Prevalence of malnutrition diagnosis ranged from 8.8% based on BMI to approximately 26% of all cases based on dietitian assessment. κ coefficients between any methods indicated a weak (κ = 0.23, BMI and dietitians; and κ = 0.28, dietitians and physicians)-to-fair strength of agreement (κ = 0.38, BMI and physicians).Available methods to identify patients with malnutrition in a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center resulted in varied prevalence of malnutrition diagnosis. A universal standard of care for nutrition screening that uses validated tools is needed.The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations requires nutritional screening of patients within 24 hours of admission. For this purpose, implementation of a validated tool that can be used by various healthcare practitioners, including nurses, needs to be considered.