When dealing with cancer, there are many considerations and decisions to make. While you and your family may be inundated with treatment options, tests and recommendations, it’s important for you to ensure that you get the nutrition guidance and direction you need for optimal health during and after cancer.
Proper nutrition can help you deal with the side effects of treatment, maintain your body weight, increase treatment effectiveness, improve outcomes and ultimately, make you feel better. Therefore, the organization for nutrition experts, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, recommends taking action to ensure you have your nutrition covered during cancer – here are the first five steps:
Get screened. All individuals with cancer should be properly screened for nutritional status. Malnutrition, in and of itself, can contribute to poor outcomes and lower quality of life.
Make medical nutrition therapy part of your treatment and recovery. Studies show that dietary intervention during chemotherapy or radiation can help promote weight gain when needed, maintain a desirable weight, conserve lean body mass, enhance quality of life, improve perception of health and patient satisfaction during treatment, lead to fewer hospital admissions and stays, improve appetite and tolerance for treatment, and increase energy and protein intake.
Start early. Experts recommend seeking help from a professional at go. This will help reduce the risk of unexpected issues.
Be consistent. Frequent monitoring and evaluation should be performed to track any changes in nutritional status or weight and manage adverse effects of cancer or treatment.
Find the right expert. It is strongly recommended for people with cancer to seek help from a Registered Dietitian (RD) who has credentials, oncology experience and the qualifications to help you manage, monitor and recover successfully.
Jenna A. Bell, PhD, RD, is a Nutrition Program Advocate. She is passionate about getting the word out about the benefits of nutrition for cancer patients in their treatment and survival. She lives in Florida with her family in an 1800’s Colonial that offers ongoing renovation opportunities.