Friday, October 24, 2014
I Have Cancer ... Now What?
I recently encountered a patient undergoing treatment for cancer. The patient was being followed by a whole team of specialists - oncology, radiology, radiation oncology, surgery, and neurosurgery. The patient asked the conventional medical team if diet should be modified in any way during radiation and chemotherapy. The recurring answer was no, eat whatever you like.
In 2014, this was the best guidance that our medical specialists could offer?
Please, if you know someone undergoing treatment for cancer, reach out to the integrative community. Integrative oncology does not seek to pull individuals out of conventional treatment. However, it seeks to augment conventional treatment with an evidence-based pathway that minimizes complications and accelerates recovery using non-pharmaceutical methods.
I strongly encourage an abundance of organic vegetables (freshly juiced is fine) along with curcumin during radiation and chemotherapy. Weight loss and muscle loss is common during treatment, so protein and healthy fats should be an integral part of a treatment diet plan. Given that taste buds are altered sometimes during treatment, diets must be adaptable enough to provide sufficient caloric intake in a palatable way. However, this does not mean you have to sacrifice healthy food choices. Excessive carbohydrates, alcohol, salt, tobacco, and unhealthy fats should be avoided.
"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."