Many cancer patients experience gastrointestinal symptoms. The Nutrition and Metabolic Support Department at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) works with 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 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 reduce side effects and treatment interruptions before they arise.
Your dietitian will communicate regularly with your oncologists and the other members of your team about your specific nutrition challenges. Working together in close proximity allows for a fully integrated approach to treating cancer, enabling our doctors and clinicians to strategize solutions designed to meet your individual needs.
Throughout your treatment, we'll help you find foods your body can tolerate, and recommend nourishing meal plans and dietary supplementation. We'll also provide pamphlets, recipes and classes about healthy eating habits to your caregivers and family members, so you can continue a healthy lifestyle at home.
The nutrition team at Southwestern
Kalli Castille serves as the Director of Integrative & Culinary Services at CTCA at Southwestern Regional Medical Center (Southwestern).
The nutrition and metabolic support team is staffed by licensed and registered dietitians who work directly with our Medical Director of Metabolic Support, Dr. Scott Hendrickson, Gastroenterologist and Medical Oncologist. Registered dietitians are experts in nutritional science and food. Registered dietitian nutritionists have the option to be board certified in specialties such as oncology, renal, sport nutrition, geriatrics and pediatrics. A variety of board-certified dietitians at Southwestern provide comprehensive care to our patients.
Before a dietitian can sit for the certification exam, he or she must have a minimum of two years' experience as a registered dietitian and at least 2,000 hours in the field of oncology. Receiving the certification is then contingent on passing the certification exam. “By being board certified in oncology, it shows our patients how committed we are to being experts in oncology and meeting our mission, vision and values every day,” says Castille.
Diabetes self-management education program
Southwestern also offers a Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) Program. Accredited by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the program was piloted in 1984, and began at CTCA in 2005. The ADA has since recognized the DSME Program at CTCA for its outstanding care of diabetic cancer patients.
The DSME Program includes ongoing lifestyle coaching and monitoring to see that your cancer treatment is being managed properly alongside your diabetes. The program focuses on the diabetes disease process, sick day management, nutritional management, physical activity, use of medications, blood sugar monitoring, psychosocial interventions and prevention of acute and chronic complications.