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Nutrition therapy for anal cancer

nutrition therapy

What is nutrition therapy?

Many cancer patients experience gastrointestinal symptoms. The Nutrition Therapy team helps restore digestive health, prevent malnutrition and provide dietary recommendations during treatment. Our goal is to help you stay strong and nourished, so you can continue with your cancer treatment.

Every patient is scheduled to meet with a registered dietitian during the first visit to CTCA. During this visit, you are given a full assessment to identify daily goals for calories and protein. Your dietitian will look at your health history, disease type and treatment plan to recommend nourishing foods during your cancer care.

Your dietitian will monitor your nutrition status from the beginning to the end of your cancer treatment, making modifications as needed to minimize side effects and treatment interruptions before they arise.

Your dietitian communicates regularly with your oncologists and the other members of your cancer team. Working together in close proximity allows for a fully integrated approach to treating cancer. Your dietitian is able to share any specific nutrition challenges with other members of your care team, such as your oncologist. Everyone works together to find solutions that meet your individual needs.

We also provide information and classes about healthy eating habits to your caregivers and family members, so you can continue a healthy lifestyle at home.

Nutrition therapy

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Nutrition therapy for anal cancer

The side effects of treatment for anal cancer can inhibit your ability to stay nourished and interfere with your treatment. Your dietitian will work alongside your naturopathic oncology provider to recommend supplements and other therapies to help manage any side effects that you experience and support optimal nutrition.

Some of the chemotherapy agents used with anal cancers can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and inflammation of the mouth, which can make it difficult to stay nourished. External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) can irritate the skin and cause pain. EBRT may cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, depending on location of treatment. Fatigue after radiation therapy may be intensified when other side effects are present.

Your dietitian can help address each side effect you experience. For example, nausea and vomiting can affect how well you tolerate certain foods and liquids. Your dietitian may recommend that you eat small, frequent meals each day and incorporate high-calorie, high-protein foods when possible. Avoiding greasy, high-fat foods, along with foods that have a strong odor, also may help with tolerance.

Inflammation of the mouth, called oral mucositis, may be present as ulcers or an overall tender feeling in the mouth. To relieve any pain, your dietitian may recommend you avoid acidic and spicy foods, and suggest you opt for softer foods at room temperature and cold fruits.

Nutritional recommendations to cope with the side effects anal cancer treatment will vary based on each patient’s preferences, tolerance and lifestyle.

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