Our registered dietitians will work with you to help you gain strength to fight the disease and cope with the side effects of treatment. Depending on your treatment regimen, you may need to cope with challenges, such as nausea, mouth sores, changes in taste and smell, diarrhea or pain while eating. At the same time, your body needs fuel to get healthy.
Developing a cancer nutrition plan that works for you
Many of our patients face difficulties getting adequate nutrition during cancer treatment. Because of treatment side effects, they may experience nausea, painful swallowing, mouth sores, diarrhea or constipation. In addition, food may taste differently than it should.
Our nutritional experts at Sentara will meet with you early on to develop a plan. However, we realize that what works for one patient for the same type of cancer may not be the same solution for you. Therefore, we will adapt our nutritional plan as you go through treatment.
In general, we recommend:
- Colorful fruits and vegetables - The more colorful, the more cancer-fighting nutrients
- Dairy - For calcium, protein and vitamin D
- Lean proteins - White meat is usually better tolerated during treatment. Eggs and nut butter are also good sources of protein
- Oils, margarine - Adds extra calories and fatty acids
- Whole grains - Adds vitamin B and fiber to your diet
For some people, generally those with head or neck cancer, tube feeding may be necessary if they cannot eat enough calories.
Our cancer nutritional goals for you
We hope that by working with you on a nutrition plan during cancer treatment, you will:
- Build a stronger immune system
- Feel better and stronger
- Heal faster
- Gain weight (if you've lost weight) and strength
- Heal faster
- Increase quality of life
- Maintain your energy level
- Reduce fatigue
- Tolerate treatment side effects better
Besides one-on-one appointments with our registered dietitians, we also host seminars on nutrition and cancer. We will also continue to support you and meet with you when you have completed your treatment to help you adjust your dietary needs.