Page 25 - Senior Times South Central Michigan - March 2017 - 24-03
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Senior Times - March 2017 Page 25
cancers or cancer treatments. Identifying the cause can help. Sometimes, medications are the best route to relief. Softer textures, adding high calorie, high protein liquids, or steering away from irritating foods may help. In severe cases, some opt to have a feeding tube.
When diagnosed with cancer and undergoing treatment, fruits and vegetables alone are not going to sustain your body. Increased protein along with enough calories to help your body use that protein to heal and fight infection are crucial to helping you fight cancer.
Does a certain type of cancer impact eating more than another? Not all cancer patients have to see a dietitian when they are going through cancer treatment. There are certain types of cancer that may require my help. These include:
• Head and neck cancers
• Gastrointestinal cancers such as
esophageal, colorectal or pancreatic
• Lung cancers
How do patients know if they need to see
a dietitian? In many cases, the oncologist treating the patient will recommend a consult with the dietitian. At the Bronson Battle Creek Cancer Care Center, patients can also request to see me. If there’s a problem, we’re very proactive. For instance, any big weight loss will flag my attention. Getting the help of a dietitian early on can be an important component of overall cancer care.
Carol Selden has been with Bronson for nearly six years and in oncology nutrition for over four years. She achieved Specialty Board Certification for the credential of Certified
Specialist in Oncology Nutrition in 2015. Learn more about The Battle Creek Cancer Care Center and comprehensive team at
By: Carol Selden
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2017 nearly 1.7 million cancer diagnoses will be made.
Diet and physical activity are important for the prevention of cancer, but they are also very important during cancer treatment.
In fact, a study published in Digestive Diseases and Science showed that malnutrition caused 30 percent of cancer-related deaths. From these statistics, we can see how important diet actually is.
Why is nutrition so important for those being treated for cancer? Cancer treatments are very hard on the body. Disease itself can take a toll, but cancer treatment is often very aggressive. Patients need more energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals from food to help repair and rebuild their bodies. Although eating well will not cure your cancer, keeping your body healthy may promote better quality of life during treatment and a better treatment outcome.
How is diet different for cancer patients? Many patients come to me thinking a good diet means eating lots of fruits and vegetables. This is true – for those who are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, if you are diagnosed with cancer and undergoing treatment, fruits and vegetables alone are not going to sustain your body. Increased protein along with enough calories to help your body use that protein to heal and fight infection are
crucial to helping you fight cancer.
What are the challenges cancer patients face when it comes to food? There are many side effects to cancer treatment that make it hard for patients to get the nutrition they need. This varies for each patient, but I hear many of the same complaints:
It tastes bad.
Chemotherapy often changes the smell and taste of food. Using different seasonings or marinades can help. If the smell is too strong, cool foods like sandwiches don’t have as much of an odor. Placing a lid on your drink can also help.
I’m too tired.
Almost all patients feel very tired during cancer treatment. In many cases, they feel too tired to eat. I recommend grab-and-go food. Foods that can be easily heated or reheated
in the microwave and eating frequent smaller meals also can be effective.
I can’t keep food down.
Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are all common side effects to cancer treatment. Sometimes changing what you eat and drink can help. Changing the way you cook or eating foods that don’t have a strong smell can also make it easier.
My mouth or throat is sore,
or it is hard for me to swallow.
Mouth or throat pain or problems swallowing can be a result of some
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