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 melanoma
Treatment for melanoma can 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 oncologist, 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.
For instance, using ginger products and eating bland foods can help you manage nausea. Also, consuming enough protein to build red and white cells can be a challenge, but is vital. Your dietitian may recommend an appetite stimulant, high protein nutritional drinks, or specific high protein foods to help you meet your needs. If you have low blood counts, you'll need to take precaution to reduce bacterial exposure from food. Your dietitian will help you navigate which foods to avoid and help you find substitutes.