Diet is not likely to directly cause or treat cancer, however proper nutrition can be an important aspect of recovery and treatment processes. Malnourishment can be a result of some cancers. A body becomes malnourished when the body is unable to absorb nutrients from food efficiently. This can lead to weight loss and loss of energy. Side effects from chemotherapy and radiotherapy – including dry or sore mouth, feelings of sickness, loss of smell and taste, problems with chewing – can make eating difficult.
Understandably all of these factors can make it very difficult for the patient to eat or even want to eat. A nutritionist or nutritional therapist could help therefore, by providing a nutrition plan which is rich in energy and nutrients but low in physical quantity.
A professional nutritionist can also help make sense of the overwhelming amount of, often conflicting, nutritional information and advice made available to cancer patients. With a person-centred approach, a nutritionist or nutritional therapist can ensure tailored care is given and can act as a teacher and guide – making a challenging time more comfortable. A nutritionist can also take charge of monitoring the body’s response to the diet, taking a little pressure off the cancer patient.