A cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment can be a very stressful and difficult time. It can often lead to feelings of anxiety which can alter your appetite. There can be a lot of time spent organising and going to appointments, travelling to hospital and undergoing treatment. With so many things happening food and nutrition can often be forgotten. During cancer and undergoing treatment for cancer your body has additional nutritional needs, therefore nutrition plays a vital role in your recovery.
What are the Benefits of Nutrition?
A well-balanced diet is important for everyone, however plays a particularly important role in people who have been diagnosed with cancer. There are numerous benefits in ensuring that you eat well before, during and after cancer treatment. These include;
- Helping you tolerate the side-effects related to treatment and recover faster.
- Assist with the healing of wounds and damaged tissues. This is particularly important after surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy or other treatment.
- Improve the body’s immune system so it can more efficiently fight infection.
- Improve your quality of life by giving you more energy, maintaining your muscle mass and strength and preventing malnutrition.
How Treatment can Impact on Nutrition
In the process of destroying cancer cells, cancer treatments can also damage the normal healthy cells in the body. This can result in a number of side-effects which impact on your ability to consume enough of the food and nutrition that your body needs. The treatment side-effects that can impact your appetite and nutritional intake include:
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in taste and smell
- Difficulty with chewing and/or swallowing
- Sore mouth and/or throat
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
- Unintentional weight loss
Not all people will experience these side-effects and they can be different from person to person. There are many factors that contribute to whether a person may experience any side-effects including the length and dose of treatment and the area of the body being treated. Most side-effects are usually temporary and often stop once treatment has finished.
At Healthy Body Healthy Mind Nutrition Services our Dietitian will provide you with support, advice and assistance to ensure you meet your nutritional needs before, during and after your cancer treatment. Our Dietitian will work with you to create an individualised management plan based on your personal circumstances and will offer you practical advice and strategies to assist you with managing your symptoms and treatment related side-effects and improving your quality of life.