Nutrition therapy for Hodgkin lymphoma
Many Hodgkin lymphoma patients experience gastrointestinal symptoms during treatment. Symptoms like nausea, diarrhea and constipation may inhibit your ability to stay nourished and interfere with your treatment.
Throughout your Hodgkin lymphoma treatment, our registered dietitians are available to work with you and the other members of your care team, including a gastroenterologist and naturopathic clinician, to help you combat various side effects so you stay strong and avoid treatment delays or interruptions. Side effects may include:
- 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 reduce 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 increase your energy levels, 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.
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 may 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 vitamin D supplements if needed.
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 the other members of the patient's cancer team. Working together in close proximity allows for a fully integrated approach to treating cancer. Your dietitian is able to 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.