Nutritional support at CTCA
Personal nutrition assessment and plan
During your first visit to CTCA, you will be automatically scheduled to meet with a licensed and registered dietitian, who will stay with you throughout your care. Your dietitian will collaborate with your gastroenterologist, oncologists and the other members of your care team to keep you strong and nourished throughout your cancer treatment:
- Prior to treatment: Your dietitian will conduct a full assessment to evaluate your nutrition status based on factors like weight changes, food intake and nutrition impact symptoms. Then, we’ll develop a personal nutrition plan based on this assessment, as well as your health history, disease type and treatment regimen.
- During treatment: Your dietitian will monitor your nutrition status, and make modifications to your diet as needed. We'll help you find foods your body can tolerate to help prevent malnutrition, reduce side effects and limit treatment interruptions. If you are unable to eat or digest food, we can provide nutrition parenterally (through a vein) or enterally (through a feeding tube).
- After treatment: Your dietitian will provide information and education about healthy eating habits to you and your family members, so you can continue to make good choices once you return home.
Some cancer patients are at risk for diabetes and glucose intolerance. Other patients may experience high blood sugar levels caused by certain medications (e.g., steroids), or other factors. Your dietitian will assist you in managing blood sugar levels throughout your care to help avoid treatment interruptions and decrease complications of diabetes, such as infection.
You will also receive nutrition education to better understand how to manage symptoms and maintain a balanced diet. Programs and classes on nutrition and cancer, in conjunction with cooking demonstrations, are presented regularly at CTCA. Books, articles and other publications on nutrition for cancer patients are also available.
Once treatment ends, the nutrition and metabolic support team provides continued support to you and your loved ones so you can continue a healthy lifestyle at home. This includes educational programs and classes on topics such as cooking at home, finding specific foods in your area, and the relationship between a healthy diet and wellness. By teaching you good nutrition throughout your cancer treatment and beyond, we take the guesswork out of which foods to eat and which supplements to take.