Good nutrition is vital for cancer patients because they can have unique nutritional needs. Their nutritional status should be assessed throughout all stages of their cancer care from pre-treatment, to during treatment, after treatment and into survivorship.
With proper nutrition, cancer patients can take control of their life and well-being and give themselves the best chance to win the fight against cancer. Good nutrition is especially important for children and adults because both the cancer and its treatment can affect appetite and the body’s ability to tolerate food and use nutrients.
Cancer treatments like chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery, or a combination of treatments kill cancer cells but may also damage healthy cells in the process. This causes various side effects of cancer treatment and can affect the patient’s desire or ability to eat or drink. Side effects can include loss of appetite, weight loss, sore mouth or throat, dry mouth, dental and gum problems, changes in taste or smell, nausea, and vomiting.
Our Registered Dietitian in the Upstate Cancer Center is available to counsel patients and advise them on how best to maintain good nutrition before, during and after their treatments. To schedule an appointment, call 315-464-HOPE (4673) or ask your doctor to place a referral for nutritional counseling. There is a consultation fee, but some insurance plans reimburse for the service.
There is a grant available for cancer patients to receive nutrition counseling free of charge if the service is not covered by their insurance plan, or if a co-pay is required.