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Diet and Nutrition

Dietitian as key partner in long-term fight against cancer

In the fight against cancer, patients must muster strength and courage to keep walking after being equipped with the roadmap (treatment plan) to recovery. Therefore, ensuring sufficient nutrition for patients is the key to treatment success.

With new chemotherapy drugs keep rolling out and continuous enhancement of radiotherapy technology, side-effects of cancer treatment has significantly reduced. However, patients may still be subjected to certain minor or average side-effects that affect everyday lives and their diet. They include:

These side-effects affect patient’s food intake and their digestion, resulting in conditions such as malnutrition and fatigue. These consequences may affect the progress of recovery and treatment outcome.

In fact, malnutrition is a common condition among cancer patients. It is a key factor that leads to worsening physical conditions, poor quality of life and high chance of mortality in patients.

Malnutrition is common among cancer patients

80%

As many as 80 per cent of cancer patients have problems of malnutrition, depending on the stages and nature of the cancer.

20%

Over 20 per cent of cancer patients died of malnutrition instead of the cancer illness.

5%

Weight loss of five per cent or more may increase death rate.

Combating cancer is a marathon race, during which athletes (patients) must prepare themselves according to their unique physical condition and individual strengths.

Similarly, cancer patients differ from one another in terms of physical conditions and health problems during treatment. Consequently, our dieticians will monitor the diet and body weight of patients closely before, during and after treatment, so as to provide them with specific dietary advice. This can help to prevent treatment progress and outcome from being affected by malnutrition.

In fact, adequate nutritional intake can boost a patient’s immune system and capacity for recovery. It ensures cancer patients to have the necessary strengths to cope with and complete treatment, and may even enhance treatment outcome and speed up recovery.

Monitoring patients’ diet and body weight during the early, middle and later stage of treatment to avoid sudden weight loss

Monitoring patients’ diet and body weight during the early, middle and later stage of treatment to avoid sudden weight loss

Helping patients to address foreseeable problems such as losing bone and muscle mass

Providing patients with specific dietary advice to help them replenish nutrition and maintain quality of life

Debunking Diet Myths

to Avoid Eating Pitfalls

There are plenty of dietary advices for cancer patients circulating among the general public, such as reducing food intake can help to kill cancer cells or taking food high in sugar will increase tumor size. These misleading tips often spread by word of mouth and, despite doubts over their authenticity, many patients would still give them a try in hope of a speedy recovery. How accurate are these information? Let’s ask our dietician!

Eating less to starve cancer cells of nutrients is unwise because this could affect a patient’s nutritional intake and lead to malnutrition and weight loss. This in turn affects the immune system and a patient’s capacity for recovery. In the end, the progress and outcome of treatment will be compromised.

No studies have shown that taking food rich in nutrients will result in increasing tumor size. On the contrary, patients should eat more nourishing food to provide them with sufficient nutrients to cope with the demands of every phase of treatment and to prevent sudden weight loss.

Some patients worry about hormones in poultry meat and eggs. So far no studies have found reliable evidences of hormones in food stimulating cancer growth. Also, the use of growth hormones on food animals is prohibited and marketable poultry should be safe for consumption. Also patients can buy poultry with hormone-free labels as a precaution.

Patients should maintain a balanced and healthy diet during treatment. An appropriate amount of seasonings can help to increase their appetite and it is not necessary to avoid food with strong flavors. It is important to adopt different cooking methods to improve appetite in patients so that they can have enough nutrients.

Free Consultation with our Dietician

How to maintain a controlled and balanced diet during treatment? Feeling dazed and reeling with all sorts of nutritional information? Our free nutritional consultation service can help you!

During a 15-minute meeting with our in-house dietician Mr. Lee Chun-yeung, you will:

  1. Undergo various assessments to check your physical conditions;
  2. Receive individualized instructions to cope with treatment demands;
  3. Learn information about food options to alleviate symptoms and boost strengths;
  4. Dispel misconceptions about diet and cancer illness

Please contact our staff should you wish to arrange consultations.

Edward Li

Contact us

How to maintain a controlled and balanced diet during treatment? Feeling dazed and reeling with all sorts of nutritional information? Our free nutritional consultation service can help you!?Please send us a message should you wish to arrange consultations.


References:

  1. https://www.healio.com/hematology-oncology/practice-management/news/print/hemonc-today/%7B0830055d-8214-4193-a331-51ee9b82bf26%7D/malnutrition-almost-epidemic-among-patients-with-advanced-cancer?page=1
  2. Warren S. The immediate cause of death in cancer. Am J Med Sci 1932; 184:610-615 ;
  3. Tisdale MJ. Cachexia in Cancer patients. Nature Rev Cancer 2002; 2:862-871
  4. Ross PJ, et al. Do patients with weight loss have a worse outcome when undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancers? British journal of cancer. 2004;90:1905–1911. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6601781.
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