Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Nutrition During Cancer Treatment

A cancer diagnosis is tough to hear. However, if you or your loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, there are things you can do to minimize the impact. Making nutrition a priority is one way to feel better.

There are many benefits to good nutrition during cancer treatment, says Erin Ross, a LifeBridge Health clinical dietitian. Ross spoke at “Nutrition During Cancer Treatment” at the Alvin and Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute last week in a detailed and informative presentation.

“There are many benefits of good nutrition,” Ross explained. With the right nutrition, a cancer patient can maintain strength and energy, weight and the body’s nutrients, tolerate treatments better and decrease risk of infection among other benefits.

Ross said recommendations from the American Cancer Society include eating a plant-based diet including five or more servings of a variety of vegetables and fruit daily, choosing whole grains, limiting consumption of red meats, especially those high in fat and processed and eat to maintain a healthy weight.

This includes eating adequate amounts of carbohydrates and fats. Cancer patients should try to get enough protein because that will help in their recovery.

“Protein is very, very important,” Ross advised. “Without adequate protein, it will take longer to heal.”

A cancer patient nutritional needs include eating 25-35 calories per kilogram, 1- 2.5 protein grams per kilogram. The patient may need a multivitamin, but be careful not to overdo the vitamin supplementation.

“It is a problem when patients take mega doses of vitamins without talking to their doctors,” Ross said. “Talk to your doctor to see if you really need it.”

Consult with your physician or nutritionist before embarking on a new eating plan. To learn more about the Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

- Sandra Crockett

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