Breast Cancer Nutrition Therapy
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Nutrition Therapy for Breast Cancer
For patients with breast cancer, nutrition is an important part of the healing process. Maintaining optimal nutrition during breast cancer treatment can help prevent malnutrition, support immune function, rebuild body tissue, decrease your risk of infection and enhance your overall well-being.
A high percentage of breast cancer patients who come to Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) are malnourished. CTCA offers a cancer Nutrition Therapy Program to keep you strong and well-nourished so you can better tolerate breast cancer treatment, avoid treatment interruptions and continue a healthy diet after treatment.
As part of your CTCA care team, your registered dietitian will support you in the following ways throughout your breast cancer treatment:
- Prior to treatment, your dietitian and gastroenterologist will conduct an individualized assessment to identify daily goals for calories and protein, and identify any current or anticipated barriers to meeting these needs. Your dietitian will immediately address any nutritional ailments you may have and will work with you to develop a personalized nutrition plan.
- Throughout your breast cancer treatment, your dietitian will monitor your nutrition status, making modifications to your cancer nutrition plan as needed. Your dietitian will develop nourishing meal plans, recommend vitamin and mineral supplementation and provide grocery shopping tours to help you read food labels and make healthy selections.
- After treatment, your dietitian will provide education about healthy eating habits to you and your family members, so you can continue a healthy lifestyle after you return home. Your dietitian can also help you establish a plan to prevent weight gain, which can contribute to breast cancer recurrence.
Combating Side Effects with Breast Cancer Nutrition Therapy
Some common ailments breast cancer patients experience include weight loss, weight gain, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea and constipation. Also, breast cancer and its treatment can bring about metabolic changes that cause or aggravate symptoms of diabetes.
The cancer nutrition team at CTCA will work with you to decrease these complications during your breast cancer treatment. Your dietitian will recommend diet modifications based on your breast cancer treatment regime, micronutrient deficiencies and nutrition impact symptoms.
The following are ways breast cancer nutrition therapy can help combat the side effects of treatment:
- If you experience nausea, your dietitian may recommend that you eat more cold foods because they don’t have a strong odor, as well as lower-fat items since fats take longer to digest.
- If you experience constipation, your dietitian may encourage you to eat fiber-rich foods and increase your fluid intake.
- To combat fatigue, your dietitian may recommend high-protein snacks and small, frequent meals rather than large meals.
- To help prevent breast cancer recurrence, your dietitian may encourage you to eat more cruciferous vegetables (e.g., broccoli, kale, cabbage).
In addition, your dietitian works closely with other members of your CTCA care team, including your gastroenterologist and naturopathic clinician. Together, they will recommend supplements and other therapies to support optimal digestion and nutrition, and help you further manage side effects of breast cancer treatment.
Next Topic: Naturopathic Medicine for Breast Cancer