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Nutrition Therapy for Cancer Patients
Many cancer patients use nutrition therapy to manage their nutritional needs. A healthy diet is an important part of cancer care, whether someone is fighting breast cancer, mesothelioma, or a skin malignancy. Tumors and their treatments can affect the way people tolerate certain foods and nutrients. Eating well before, during and after treatment helps cancer patients feel better, grow stronger and live longer.
Customized cancer diets contain the right vitamins, minerals, proteins and other nutrients essential for good health. They are tailored to meet the individual nutritional needs of the patients. Healthy eating during all stages of cancer controls weight and prevents malnourishment.
Cancer centers use nutrition therapy to help patients manage their health and fight infections. Many cancer treatments simply work better when patients are well nourished. Healthy patients also have a better chance of recovery and enjoy a better quality of life.
Cancer Changes Affect Nutrition
Cancerous tumors cause chemical changes that alter the way the body uses nutrients. These changes affect the use and absorption of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and other essential substances. Stomach and intestinal tumors, in particular, change the way the body uses food.
Cancer Treatments Affect Nutrition
According to the National Cancer Institute, malnutrition is a common problem during cancer treatments. Treatment side effects make it hard for some patients to eat well. Patients with stomach and intestinal tumors are especially susceptible to malnourishment. Those with head, neck and esophageal cancers also find it hard to stay healthy during treatment. Surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and stem cell therapy all affect nutrition.
Anorexia, mouth sores, swallowing problems, nausea, pain, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation are some of the treatment symptoms that affect nutrition. Depression, stress and anxiety also make an impact. Some cancer treatments affect taste, smell and appetite. Even patients who eat adequate amounts of food may not get enough nutrients to stay healthy during cancer. For more information on healthy eating during cancer please visit- The National Cancer Institute.
Nutrition Support Teams
Since staying healthy is often hard for cancer patients, many of them rely on professionals to monitor their nutritional health. Nutrition support teams check the nutritional needs of cancer patients and watch for problems along the way. Support teams typically include a physician, nurse and registered dietitian. Some teams have a social worker, psychologist and religious advisor.
Nutrition Therapy Benefits
All cancer patients can benefit from nutrition therapy. Cancer diets ensure that patients in treatment and recovery get enough nutrients to stay healthy. Nutrition therapy helps them maintain their nutritional health, and it reduces the occurrences of other problems commonly associated with cancer.
For example, customized diets reduce problems like brittle bones and muscle loss. They decrease the negative treatment symptoms that affect health. Nutrition therapy supports the immune system to fight infection and promote healing. Most important, healthy eating gives cancer patients a better quality of life.