More and more, cancer doctors have begun recommending that their patients see nutrition counselors as a part of their treatment. Dietary changes alone will not cure your cancer, but a good diet can enhance your treatment plan in many ways. When you meet with your cancer nutrition specialist, here are the goals you should discuss with them.
1. Maintaining weight.
Cancer alone can cause you to lose weight, and cancer treatments like chemotherapy can also encourage weight loss. However, maintaining a stable weight can help you stay stronger during recovery. Your nutritionist will help you focus on strategies to maintain weight as much as possible during cancer treatment. This may involve working more higher-calorie foods into your diet, eating more often, and avoiding certain foods that make you feel nauseous and disinterested in eating.
2. Boosting immunity.
When you undergo chemotherapy or radiation, you are often told to remain isolated as much as possible and avoid contact with sick people. This is because these treatments lower your immunity, making you more prone to infection. Your nutritionist will therefore encourage you to eat more foods that boost your immunity. This will include foods that are high in antioxidants, like vitamins C and E, and also protein-rich foods that will encourage healthy white blood cell production.
3. Easing nausea and fatigue.
Fatigue is a symptom of cancer and also an effect of most cancer treatments. Nausea is the other major side effect of cancer treatment. Your nutritionist can help you choose foods that minimize both of these side effects, which will help you feel a lot better, overall, during cancer treatment. Avoiding sugary foods will be one important key. Eating the right balance of fats and proteins is also really important.
4. Preventing relapse.
As your cancer treatments draw to an end, you will want to keep seeing your nutritionist. At this stage, they will recommend foods that will help prevent your cancer from coming back. Note that there are no guarantees. Eating a healthy diet won't prevent cancer from returning 100%, but it is an important contributing factor. Expect to be recommended a diet high in fruits and vegetables and lower in simple carbohydrates.
Meeting with a nutrition counselor is one of the best things you can do when undergoing cancer treatment. Your doctor should be able to recommend a good nutritionist in your area. Pay attention to the goals above as you work together.