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.
Video: Nutrition Therapy at CTCALearn about the goals of our nutrition therapy program at CTCA, as well as how nutrition therapy is personalized and integrated into our patients’ cancer treatment plans.
Nutrition therapy for Hodgkin lymphoma
Many Hodgkin lymphoma patients experience gastrointestinal symptoms during treatment. Symptoms like nausea, diarrhea and constipation, can inhibit your ability to stay nourished and nterfere with your treatment.
Throughout your Hodgkin lymphoma treatment, your dietitian will work closely with the other members of your care team, including a gastroenterologist and naturopathic clinician, to help combat various side effects so you stay strong and avoid treatment delays or interruptions:
- Nausea: We may recommend eating a low-fat, bland diet of cold foods, ginger products, peppermint, or wearing sea bands to combat nausea.
- Diarrhea: We may suggest a BRAT diet of bananas, white rice, applesauce, and toast to help minimize irritation to the digestive tract, and water soluble fiber supplements (e.g., pectin) to help form firmer stool.
- Constipation: To relieve constipation, we may recommend you increase your fiber intake and stay hydrated, including drinking warm liquids (e.g., prune juice).
- Fatigue: To give you more energy, we may suggest you try small, frequent meals of protein-rich foods, and decrease your sugar intake.
- Anemia: To boost your red blood cell count, we may recommend certain iron and folic acid supplements.
- Low blood counts: A well-balanced, protein-rich diet may help your blood counts return to a safe level.
Managing your nutrition status after a stem cell transplant
Nutrition plays an important role for Hodgkin lymphoma patients who undergo a stem cell transplant. After the transplant, your white blood cell counts will be lower, making you more susceptible to infection. A strict adherence to food safety is important at this time.
For a period of time following the transplant, your dietitian may recommend a neutropenic diet. Diet restrictions may include avoiding raw/undercooked foods (e.g., meats, seafood, eggs, vegetables or unpeeled fruits) or unpasteurized dairy products.
Also, since Vitamin D is important for Hodgkin lymphoma patients, your dietitian may work with your doctor to have your Vitamin D levels checked and may recommend supplementation with Vitamin D if needed.