Health Talk Today

The Important Role of Nutrition in Cancer Treatment

Guest post by Jillian McKee, Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.

Fruit and Vegetables

Good nutrition is instrumental in a cancer patient’s life because it makes a big difference in how the body responds to treatment. Sometimes treatments are very hard on the body. Eating a good diet will help the body replace damaged cells and will help in healing after surgery. If cancer patients continue to eat a good, nutritious diet during their illnesses, they will keep their strength intact. All of these issues are a concern when people are just being diagnosed, currently undergoing treatment, or recovering from cancer.

Weight is a highly important topic to doctors. As people lose weight after being diagnosed, they lower survival chances more quickly than those who can keep their weight at a healthy level. Similarly, when losing weight during their illnesses, enthusiasm and quality of life declines. By keeping their weight at a healthy level, energy levels are maintained. They can better maintain their normal lives and do not feel as hopeless as those who are feeling weak.

As people eat a nutritious diet, they can reduce the symptoms that they experience from their cancer treatments. If cancer patients are becoming malnourished, they often notice side effects that are more severe. These can be decreased by maintaining a healthy body weight. Side effects include:

• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Constipation
• Diarrhea
• Fatigue
• Anemia
• Anorexia

Problems with getting enough nutrition present themselves when it’s hard to eat a sufficient amount of food. Those who are currently receiving mesothelioma cancer treatments, for example, may need to have a feeding tube. This way, they will receive a healthy mixture of water, proteins, fats, vitamins, and carbohydrates. It can lead to these patients feeling much better than they did previously.

The medical staff will begin to take nutrition into consideration right after a patient has been diagnosed with cancer. They will want to identify any potential problems that could present themselves throughout the patients’ treatment. Then they can develop a plan to make sure malnutrition does not become an issue.

Jillian McKeeJillian McKee has worked as the Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance since June of 2009. Jillian spends most her time on outreach efforts and spreading information about the integration of complementary and alternative medicine when used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment.

Leave a comment for Jill with your best nutrition ideas.

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One Comment

  1. Jillian,
    It’s been a pleasure working with you. Thanks for a great guest post on the importance of nutrition in cancer treatment. Good nutrition is always a wise choice.


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