Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Nutrition therapy for head and neck cancer

nutrition therapy

Nutrition therapy for head and neck cancer

One of the most common side effects of head and neck cancer treatment is difficulty swallowing, or dysphagia, which may range from chronic dry mouth to an inability to swallow anything, including saliva. Other side effects may include weight loss, difficulty chewing, changes in taste, loss of appetite, a sore throat and mouth sores, all of which may require the assistance of a registered dietitian.

Our registered dietitians are available to work with you and the other members of your care team throughout your treatment. Together, they may recommend supplements and other therapies to help you receive the nutrition you need.

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 other members of the patient's cancer team. Working together in a team environment, all under one roof, allows for an integrated approach to treating cancer. Your dietitian may 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.

Nutrition therapy