Colorectal Cancer Nutrition Therapy
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Video: Cancer Nutrition TherapyCancer Nutrition Therapy
Cancer Nutrition Therapy
At CTCA, nutrition and metabolic support is a critical part of our colorectal cancer patients’ treatment plans. Listen to Dr. Pankaj Vashi discuss the approach CTCA takes to helping cancer patients receive the nourishment they need to stay strong.
Nutrition Therapy for Colorectal Cancer
Maintaining your strength and energy is critical when you’re fighting colorectal cancer. Unfortunately, many people undergoing colorectal cancer treatment don’t receive the nutrition and metabolic support they need to stay strong and nourished throughout their care.
At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), our licensed and registered dietitians provide comprehensive nutrition therapy through every step of your cancer journey.
As part of your overall CTCA care team, your dietitian will provide ongoing nutrition and metabolic support to reduce common side effects of colorectal cancer treatment, such as decreased appetite and weight loss. Ultimately, your dietitian will take a proactive approach to help prevent malnutrition.
Why Is Nutrition Therapy Important for Colorectal Cancer Patients?
Optimal nutrition is especially important throughout your fight against colorectal cancer, as it can help you:
- Stay strong
- Improve your energy level
- Build a stronger immune system
- Rebuild body tissue
- Tolerate cancer treatment
- Reduce the amount and intensity of treatment-related side effects
- Avoid treatment interruptions so you can receive your full, recommended treatment
How Can the Colorectal Cancer Nutrition Experts at CTCA Help You?
During your first visit to one of our hospitals, you’ll meet with a dietitian for an individualized consultation. Together you and your dietitian will begin the process of building a nutritional plan aimed at keeping you strong and well nourished.
You’ll receive a full assessment to determine your daily goals for calories and protein. In addition, you and your dietitian will identify any current or anticipated barriers to meeting your nutrition needs. As you work together to develop your personalized approach to nutrition therapy, factors that will be considered include:
- The type and stage of colorectal cancer you have
- The colorectal cancer treatment you’re currently receiving, or are likely to receive
- Your history of weight loss
- Symptoms you have that may be affecting your nutrition intake
From the start of your colorectal cancer treatment at CTCA until your treatment is complete, your dietitian will proactively and continually monitor your nutrition status. He or she will make modifications to your nutritional plan as needed.
You can schedule visits with your dietitian as often as you like. Each time you meet with your dietitian, you’ll complete a nutrition assessment. This tool will help your dietitian gauge whether you are at risk for malnutrition. If you are at such risk, your dietitian will ensure you receive the intensive nutrition and metabolic support you need.
Supportive nutrition therapy
In some cases, colorectal cancer patients cannot intake food as they normally would, particularly during aggressive treatment.
If eating solid food is not an option for you, your CTCA dietitian will offer supportive nutrition therapy so you receive nourishment through tube feeding (enteral nutrition) or an IV (parenteral nutrition, total parenteral nutrition or TPN).
If you choose to receive enteral or parenteral nutrition while undergoing colorectal cancer treatment, your dietitian will work with a doctor and pharmacist to support you and monitor your nutrition status. These clinicians and staff will review your lab work daily and make modifications to the enteral or parenteral formula you receive, as needed.
Managing Nutrition Impact Symptoms During Colorectal Cancer Treatment
Your CTCA dietitian will help you manage any symptoms that affect your ability to intake nutrition. These are called nutrition impact symptoms.
Loss of appetite
Should you lack an appetite, your dietitian may recommend that you eat small, frequent meals that are high in calories and protein. Your dietitian will teach you about foods that are good choices to make for this kind of diet.
Your dietitian can work with your medical oncologist to offer you anti-nausea medication (antiemetics) to help calm your stomach and prevent any nausea you may experience after receiving treatment. Also, your dietitian may recommend eating cold foods because they do not have the strong odors that many hot foods have, and tend to be better tolerated. He or she may also suggest ginger tea, candies and other ginger products that also provide some nausea relief.
To prevent diarrhea, your dietitian may recommend that you avoid spicy, greasy, high-fiber, dairy and gas-producing foods. He or she may also recommend pectin smoothies.
You may experience constipation during colorectal cancer treatment. Your dietitian may advise increasing your consumption of fluids or fiber-rich foods. He or she will also provide ideas about what types of foods and food combinations may help with constipation.
If you have diabetes, your dietitian can help you create personal meal plans to help control your blood sugars. Maintaining your blood sugars within a normal range is essential as it affects your ability to adequately heal and lowers your risk of infection.
Making healthy choices post-treatment
After you have completed colorectal cancer treatment, your dietitian can teach how to you make modifications to your diet to help prevent cancer recurrence and improve overall wellness. He or she can recommend foods you should eat more frequently (e.g., bran, whole grains, vegetables), as well as foods to avoid (e.g., butter and other saturated fats).
Specifically, your dietitian can:
- Review healthful eating guidelines
- Help you develop meal plans
- Provide diet/menu analysis
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