Living With Cancer: Finding Reliable Nutrition Resources
While undergoing treatment, many patients with cancer find that their relationship with food changes. Favorite foods may begin to taste bland, fatigue can make preparing meals a challenge or nausea might remove appetite altogether. However, studies have shown that healthful nutrition is an important part of cancer prevention, treatment and survivorship, and can help patients:
- Maintain strength and energy
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Have better tolerance of side-effects related to the treatment
- Fight infection
- Improve healing and recovery
“Proper nutrition during cancer treatments is especially important, as poor nutrition can lead to rapid weight loss, muscle and fat wasting and weakness and fatigue which all can lead to poor outcomes,” says Kelly Nuckolls, RD, University Hospital Oncology Dietitian. “Navigating nutrition needs after a cancer diagnosis can be challenging and leaves many patients with questions.”
Nutrition services are available to patients through the UW Carbone Cancer Center. For an individualized nutrition plan, patients can make an appointment with a UW Health Registered Dietitian at the UW Carbone Cancer Center by calling (608) 265-1700.
There are also several helpful resources available online. We asked Nuckolls to share some of her favorite online nutrition resources for patients and families. She adds, “Use caution when turning to the internet for nutrition information. It is important to get nutrition information from credible, trustworthy sources only.”
For Information on Cancer and Nutrition Therapy
American Institute for Cancer Research: provides informative tips on how to eat well and addresses hot topics and common myths in cancer nutrition
Oncology Nutrition: addresses common nutrition-related questions during cancer treatment and gives advice on what dietary changes may make treatment and side effects more manageable
American Cancer Society: accessible resources on ways to make changes to eating habits, including healthy grocery lists, snacking and how to keep a food diary.
University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center: learning modules, information on classes, and frequently asked questions about nutrition and cancer are provided. Contact information to make an appointment with a UW Health registered dietician can also be found here.
For Information on Vitamins, Minerals and Herbal Supplements
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements: provides information on many supplements, including what is known about the role of the supplement in the body, health effects and safety concerns.