Facebook Pixel

Nutritional Support for Cancer Patients - Or, How What you Eat While Battling Cancer Can Make a World of Difference

By Expert HERWriter
Rate This

Over the years, I’ve watched as quite a few dear friends battled cancer. No matter what type of cancer they were dealing with (breast, prostate, etc.), or what type of treatments they had (chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, etc.), it seems like they all shared a few things in common: loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss.

While many cancer patients are given anti-nausea pills during their treatment, especially those who are dealing with chemotherapy, it just seems that no matter what they do, food just isn’t as appealing during this time. As a result, many folks lose a lot of weight, at a time when they really need to keep their strength up as much as possible.

So when visiting my friends who have been fighting cancer, I’ll always ask what type of food I can bring or what type of restaurant we can go to, and then I’m always happy when they come up with something that sounds good. If a friend says she wants a big hot fudge sundae from Baskin Robbins for lunch, then that’s where we would go!

From talking with my friends and family members over the years, it seems like most of them were essentially on their own when it came to their diets during cancer treatment. Some might have gotten a pamphlet or two or had a quick chat with a nutritionist, but for the most part they were given the anti-nausea pills and sent on their way.

The other day I was thinking about this subject again. I had just spoken with a dear friend of mine whose father successfully fought off Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, and she had mentioned that even though he faithfully took his anti-nausea pills during his rounds of chemotherapy, he ended up dropping about 30 pounds that he really didn’t need to lose and he also lost his taste for many of the foods he always loved.

So I got out my trusty laptop and began to research nutrition and cancer. More specifically, I was trying to find cancer facilities that treat cancer patients everyday, and that offer them nutritional support. I found a couple of places right away that feel that this subject is crucial to the well-being of cancer patients. Please check out these links below:

Add a Comment7 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Maybe I'm a bit late but I have just find this page looking for information about nutritional support for my degree as a nutritionist. I don't know how it work in States, but I can assure that, although obviously is not the same training a doctor has, I have medical training. And I also can assure that my training about foods, taste changes and eating disorders related with treatments is higher than the training most of doctors have in this field. Although as I'm said I don't know how it works in states I'm sure that a registered dietitian is the best professional to assess in problems related with food and disease.
Sorry for my English if I have made any big mistakes.
Writing from Spain.

March 3, 2010 - 4:23am
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hello Anon and thanks for writing. Your English is just fine.
You are right, a registered dietitian is a great resource for cancer patients. In the US we have specialists known as oncology nutritionists. Here's how the American Dietetic Association (ADA) describes what they do:
A dietetic practice group of the ADA is a group of dietitians who are members of ADA whose work is in a particular area such as cancer or diabetes. The Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group or ON DPG is a dietetic practice group of the ADA. Our mission is to provide direction and leadership for quality oncology nutrition practice through education and research. We are a national organization with over 1600 members. The practice of oncology nutrition covers research, prevention, treatment, recovery, palliative care, and hospice. The ON DPG provides dietetic professionals with resources and networking opportunities to deal with the complexities of oncology practice. Members work in clinical, public health, education, and research settings.
More information can be found at: http://www.oncologynutrition.org/

We hope your studies go well and that you will come back to visit the site again.
Take care, Pat

March 10, 2010 - 5:30pm
EmpowHER Guest

I think there are a lot of things that work although they have no "scientific basis". Just as treatments that are endorsed by science are not always a good idea. So many were given a chemotherapy although it would not work for them. Today you should do a DNA-test of the tumor first.
With the subject of weight-loss and nausea you should not forget cannabis as a very effective natural cure.

October 27, 2009 - 4:01pm
EmpowHER Guest

The first link in the article is a very informative article from a respected organisation about the use and type methods used to introduce nutritional supplements during treatments for cancer. The second is a commercial for naturopahic and other alternative therapies that have no scientific basis. A doctor should advise you on nutrition and diet not a nutritionist with no medical training. Mixing reputable sources with other less independant and unverifiable sources of information gives them undue credibility. Please verify your sources before engaging in advertising dressed up as journalism.

June 29, 2009 - 6:32am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Unfortunately, the physicians in whom we place our care, are not qualified to advise on nutrition as they have only received a thimble full of nutrition training in school. The only place one will receive qualified advice is from a Naturopath, Nutritionist or Dietician.
[Link removed by EmpowHer Moderator]

March 28, 2010 - 1:38pm

Cancer is very common among women. This is a great site for empowering women in surviving this deadly disease. As we all know, Cancer Survivor Day is celebrated on the month of June. In connection with this, the Army of Women is the number one partner of Avon Foundation for Women and the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation in the fight against breast cancer. Army of Women, which you can find at armyofwomen.org, has aims to get more women involved in research in breast cancer prevention, definitely a worthy cause. Breast cancer research, as well as cancer research in general is a growing field, and if they found a way to cure without cutting too much into Big Pharmaceuticals profit margins we'd probably have a cure by now. At any rate, it would be worth an instant payday loan to donate to groups dedicated to such good causes as Army of Women.

June 15, 2009 - 9:52pm
EmpowHER Guest


Thanks for the interesting blog on nutrition and cancer.
I have a friend that’s fighting stage 4 colon cancer so I know what a dreadful disease it is.

I had my first colonoscopy at age 50. A polyp was found and removed. I’m now 58 and I had my second colonoscopy a few weeks ago. Nothing was found this time.

I just want to remind and encourage everyone to get screened for colon cancer. The procedure itself (colonoscopy) is not painful, with the possible exception of the I.V. The preparation the day before is a little inconvenient. Plan to be close to a bathroom.

The ‘official’ guideline is to have a colonoscopy if you are older than 50 and every 10 years thereafter. That is, if you’re at average risk. Check with your physician. Schedule an appointment today!

For more information on colon cancer go to http://wwww.coloncancerresource.com

June 9, 2009 - 1:45pm
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Healthy Eating

Get Email Updates

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!