Nutrition therapy for colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer impacts the body's ability to digest and absorb vital nutrients. Over time, this can contribute to severe malnutrition and negatively impact your ability to tolerate cancer treatment. Our nutrition and metabolic support team, which includes a gastroenterologist and dietitian, helps you stay nourished, tolerate treatment better, limit treatment interruptions, prevent malnutrition and improve quality of life.
Treatment for colorectal cancer can also cause side effects, including weight loss, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, low blood counts and increased risk of infection. These side effects can inhibit your ability to stay nourished and interfere with your treatment.
Your dietitian will work closely with the other members of your care team, including your gastroenterologist and naturopathic clinician, throughout your treatment. Together, they will recommend supplements and other therapies to support optimal digestion and nutrition, and help you manage side effects.
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 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 we feel you would benefit from 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.
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.