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Nutrition and Lifestyle Strategies on Cancer Survivors Day

Active lifestyle choices that support health and wellness for individuals observing Cancer Survivors Day.

When dealing with cancer, keeping up with your nutrition can be tough, but it’s crucial for maintaining your health. Eating well-balanced meals and staying hydrated are key components to support your body through this challenging time.

Cancer and its treatments often bring about side effects that can alter your appetite and affect your weight. Some treatments might reduce your desire to eat, leading to weight loss, while others might contribute to weight gain. Minor fluctuations in weight are generally not a concern, but significant changes can impact your well-being during treatment. Focus on nourishing your body with wholesome foods to keep yourself as strong and healthy as possible.

Essential Nutrition Guide During Cancer Treatment

Here are some key nutrition tips to consider during cancer treatment:

Ensure a balanced intake of essential nutrients which involves consuming adequate proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and staying hydrated. These components are crucial for your body’s overall function and recovery.

Stay as active as possible. Incorporating light exercise, like daily walks, can help maintain muscle mass and prevent excess body fat accumulation, even if your overall weight remains stable.

Keep open communication with your healthcare team about your weight. Regular discussions with your doctor and cancer care team are essential. They will monitor weight changes, which could signal nutritional deficiencies or excesses. Whether it’s weight loss or gain, it’s important to identify the cause and adjust your nutritional plan accordingly. Your team may also recommend consulting with a dietitian who specializes in cancer care to tailor a nutrition plan that fits your specific needs.

Nutrition During and After Cancer Treatment

Registered dietitians (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) are essential professionals in the healthcare team of cancer patients, offering tailored nutritional guidance and support. They help create personalized eating plans that match specific nutritional requirements, which may include recommendations for increased intake of certain vitamins or minerals, nutritional supplements, and potentially the use of feeding tubes when necessary. Given the lack of definitive research on the impact of specific diets during cancer treatment, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) does not endorse any particular diet for cancer treatment; the focus remains on addressing the individual needs and treatment side effects each patient experiences.

Cancer treatments can lead to side effects like diarrhea, nausea, and changes in taste, making it difficult to eat or drink. RDs and RDNs can offer strategies to manage these issues, such as incorporating high-protein foods if meat becomes less appealing or finding ways to make water more palatable if its taste is affected. The use of small meals throughout the day and the inclusion of flavorful herbs can also be beneficial.

When considering dietary supplements, it’s crucial to consult with the cancer care team. Certain low-dose vitamins and minerals might be helpful, but high doses could be harmful and interfere with cancer treatments.

Furthermore, food safety is paramount during cancer treatment due to increased infection risk. RDs and RDNs can provide guidance on handling and preparing food safely to avoid food-borne illnesses.

After cancer treatment, a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is generally recommended to support overall health and manage the risk of other conditions such as heart disease or diabetes. It’s important for survivors to discuss their unique nutritional needs with their healthcare team, including a nutrition professional.

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