Nutrition therapy for anal cancer
The side effects of
anal cancer treatment may inhibit your ability to stay nourished and interfere with your treatment. Our registered dietitians work alongside our naturopathic oncology providers and may suggest supplements and other therapies to help manage side effects that you experience and support healthy nutrition.
Some of the chemotherapy agents used with anal cancers may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and inflammation of the mouth, which can make it difficult to stay nourished. External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) may 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 is available to help address each side effect you experience. For example, nausea and vomiting may affect how well you tolerate certain foods and liquids. Your dietitian may suggest 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 develop as ulcers or an overall tender feeling in the mouth. To relieve any pain, your dietitian may suggest that you avoid acidic and spicy foods, and suggest that you eat softer foods at room temperature and cold fruits.
Nutritional suggestions to cope with the side effects anal cancer treatment vary based on each patient’s preferences, tolerance and lifestyle.
What is nutrition therapy?
Many cancer patients experience gastrointestinal symptoms. The nutrition therapy team works with our patients to help 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 has the option of meeting with a registered dietitian. During this visit, one of our dietitians will give you a comprehensive nutritional assessment to identify daily goals for calories and protein. The dietitian will look at your health history, disease type and treatment plan to recommend nourishing foods during your cancer care.
The dietitian will monitor your nutrition status from the beginning to the end of your cancer treatment, making modifications as needed to help address side effects and prevent treatment interruptions before they arise.
Our dietitians communicate regularly with the oncologists and the other members of the patient's cancer team. Working together in close proximity allows for a fully integrated approach to treating cancer. Your dietitian is able to alert other members of your care team, such as your medical oncologist, to specific nutrition challenges you may be experiencing. Everyone works together to identify solutions designed to 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.