Dietary and Nutritional Services

For many people, nutrition never becomes a problem during cancer treatment. For some, however, it can become a major obstacle, especially during periods of active treatment with chemotherapy or radiation therapy. A well-balanced diet is especially important for people undergoing treatment. It will play an important role in your well-being. Good nutrition helps your recovery from cancer treatment, which is why doctors frequently advise people to eat well and to try to maintain their weight during treatment.

People often ask about special diets or vitamin supplements, since there is a great deal of interest in diet as a way to improve the results of cancer treatment. A lot of controversy surrounds special "cancer diets," but doctors generally do not believe there is one special diet for people with cancer. They usually recommend a diet that is high in calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Well-nourished people often tolerate treatment better. They also feel better physically and emotionally.

The reasons some people lose weight during treatment are not well understood. The simplest explanation is that when people feel sick they often lose their appetites and just don't feel like eating. Or, they may be too tired to cook for themselves. Some treatments also can cause people to feel nauseated. It is obviously very difficult to want to eat during those times.

Nutritional services can be an important part of your entire treatment program. A consultation with a registered dietitian early in your treatment can provide valuable information in planning a good nutritional program and avoiding future problems. Prevention is the answer if you are concerned about nutritional problems.