/ by Sean O'Nan, MS, RD, LD
Written by Sean O'Nan, a registered dietitian at UK Markey Cancer Center.
Maintaining a healthy diet can be tough after a cancer diagnosis, especially if you are experiencing side effects from treatment that are making it difficult to eat or drink. Loss of appetite, nausea, and taste changes are just some of the side effects patients may experience that could impact their nutritional habits. While you may not notice any immediate effects of good nutrition, it still plays a large role in your overall health and recovery. Here are a few benefits of good nutrition to consider:
- Preventing unwanted weight loss
- If you begin to notice that you are losing weight unintentionally, you may be at risk for becoming malnourished. Malnutrition is a common side effect of treatment, affecting up to 85% of cancer patients at some point during their treatment. Being malnourished plays a role in the effectiveness of your treatments and outcome.
- Maintain body’s stores of nutrients
- Good nutrition will lead your body to have stores of nutrients on hand to use in times of decreased food intake. If you are not eating well, these stores may be depleted and could affect your immune response and treatment plans.
- Help improve overall strength and fatigue
- By eating well, you provide your body with the energy (Calories) it needs to function properly.
- Improves quality of life
- Depending on the diagnosis, cancer patients may have to adjust their diet to help improve complications from their treatment or disease. By maintaining a good diet, you can help manage treatment-related side effects that may be impeding your daily life.
If you are experiencing any nutrition-related side effects of your diagnosis or treatment, the UK Markey Cancer Center has registered dietitians available to help troubleshoot your issues and develop individualized nutrition recommendations to improve health and quality of life in our patients.
For additional information regarding diet and nutrition for cancer patients at UK Markey Cancer Center, please call 859-323-2798 and ask to speak with a registered dietitian.