Nutrition therapy for multiple myeloma
For multiple myeloma patients who undergo a stem cell transplant, nutrition plays an essential role. After the transplant, your blood counts, including infection-fighting white blood cells, will be lower, making you more susceptible to infection. A strict adherence to food safety is very 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 multiple myeloma patients, your dietitian may work with your doctor to have your Vitamin D levels checked and may recommend supplementation with Vitamin D if needed. Your dietitian will also ensure you are getting the right amount of calcium to protect your bones.
Managing side effects with nutrition therapy
Multiple myeloma and its treatments can cause side effects that affect your appetite, such as nausea, constipation, diarrhea, pain and fatigue. These side effects can result in weight loss and malnutrition, which can delay or interrupt your treatment.
Because nutrition for cancer patients is critical, your dietitian will closely monitor your status and may use various nutrition interventions to combat the side effects of multiple myeloma treatment, such as:
- Weight loss: Your dietitian will monitor you closely to ensure you are maintaining a healthy weight, since weight loss can delay or interrupt your multiple myeloma treatment.
- Constipation: Your dietitian may recommend you increase your fiber intake and stay hydrated to relieve constipation.
- Fatigue: Your dietitian may recommend small, frequent meals and nutrient-dense foods to give you more energy.
- Nausea: Your dietitian may recommend a low-fat, bland diet of cold foods, ginger products, peppermint or sea bands to combat nausea.
- Anemia: Your dietitian may recommend iron and folic acid supplements to boost your red blood cell count.
- Low blood counts: Your dietitian may recommend a well-balanced, protein-rich diet to help your blood counts return to a safe level.
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.