Food is a part of everyday life - and for a good reason: we need to eat to survive. Unfortunately, with cancer treatment, nutrition can become a challenge and requires some special considerations. The presence of a tumor changes the body's needs and the way the body uses nutrients.
Side effects from chemotherapy and radiation therapy may cause decreased intake for a variety of reasons. Knowing some of these obstacles before entering into treatment can be helpful. Christine Lutes is the Oncology Dietitian for the cancer center and can offer personalized counseling and suggestions that will help relieve some of your nutrition issues.
"Recipes and Diet Tips for Head and Neck Cancer" is a handy resource to help creatively tackle some of these issues. Experiment with some of the recipes and suggestions in this cookbook to help you along. You may have heard that cancer treatments cause weight loss.
Even if you are excited about the possibility of losing weight, remember that your goal is to remain strong and healthy before, during and after treatment. This will enable your body to properly heal and fight this cancer. If weight loss is a long-term goal, wait until you get the go-ahead from your doctor after treatment is completed. Then contact the dietitian to assist you with individual recommendations.
Many patients want to be proactive and use vitamin and herbal supplements. There is no scientific evidence that vitamin supplements prevent or cure cancer. During cancer treatment, it is recommended that patients refrain from taking vitamin or herbal supplements. Most products have not been tested with cancer treatments to determine benefit or harm. We want to allow your treatments to work to their full potential.
If you find it is difficult to take enough food by mouth, you may require a high protein and calorie supplement or tube feeding. The dietitian can provide recommendations and suggestions so that you can stay well nourished. Be sure to communicate any questions are concerns about eating or weight changes with your health care team so they can help you feel your best.
To schedule an appointment, please visit our Contact Us page. You don't have to face cancer alone. Call the Cancer LifeNet Helpline at 1-866-393-4355 for support.