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Oncology Dietitian for Anti-cancer foods

Oncology Dietitian for Anti-cancer foods

When you have cancer, your body requires adequate nutrients and calories to recover from treatment. However, eating well can be difficult when you are sick or lack the energy to cook. That's where an oncology dietitian comes in.

An oncology dietitian (also known as an oncology nutritionist) is an important member of your cancer treatment team. Your oncologist will most likely refer you to an oncology dietitian. Oncology dietitians use their extensive knowledge of nutrition to assist you in developing a meal plan that promotes healing and minimises side effects while undergoing cancer treatment.

In cancer patients, good nutrition has been linked to better chances of recovery and lower rates of remission. During cancer, your body's cells are constantly damaged by treatment and repaired afterwards. A healthy diet provides your body with the vitamins, minerals, protein, and energy it needs to repair and heal after each treatment.

Also Read: Anti Cancer Foods

A well-rounded diet can also:

  • Prevent or combat malnourishment
  • Mitigate the deterioration of lean body mass
  • Help the patient recover from treatment
  • Reduce complications and related illnesses
  • Bolster strength and energy
  • Increase the quality of life

It is critical to understand that if the diet is powerful enough to heal, it is also powerful enough to harm. Certified practitioners are well-versed in this dichotomy and are aware of the benefits and limitations of supplements, therapeutic diets, and research biases. Dietitians, on the other hand, specialise in overall nutrition. Unlike on-nutritionists, they have not completed any courses or obtained any certificates related to cancer nutrition and cancer treatment. Because cancer is such a broad subject that varies from patient to patient, so does treatment, whether medical or complementary.

Patients Ask:

  1. What is an Oncology Dietitian, and what role do they play in cancer treatment?

An oncology dietitian works with cancer patients and their families to develop a diet that will be beneficial during and after treatment. This medical professional assists patients in making nutritional changes to improve their health and reduce the side effects of cancer and cancer treatments. Your oncology dietitian will create a nutrition plan with specific food-related goals after gathering more information. This diet will almost certainly include a lot of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. However, it may also include unexpected foods such as gravy or milkshakes. Some food-related goals within a meal plan, however, are unique to the patient.

For example, if you lost a lot of weight during chemotherapy, your goal might be to gain 20 pounds. Your oncology dietitian may recommend specific calorie and protein targets to help you gain weight.

  1. What does an onco-nutritionist offer?
  • Simple, practical tips and advice to help you achieve your nutritional needs
  • Advice on ways to deal with weight loss, fatigue, and nausea brought on by illness or treatment side effects
  • Personalised guidelines based on your biological needs and unique circumstances
  • Plans for families or caregivers in support of your nutritional needs
  • Recipes, lists of foods, dietary supplements, and vitamins
  1. What is the relationship between diet and cancer?

Good nutrition in cancer patients has been linked to better chances of recovery and lower incidences of remission. A well-rounded diet can also:

  • Prevent or combat malnourishment
  • Mitigate the deterioration of lean body mass
  • Help the patient recover from treatment
  • Reduce complications and related illnesses
  • Bolster strength and energy
  • Increase the quality of life
  1. Common Nutrition Challenges Faced by Oncology Patients

Eating a well-balanced diet can be challenging for anyone. However, many cancer patients experience treatment side effects or symptoms related to their disease that make eating properly unpleasant. The following are some of the most common nutrition issues that many oncology patients face.

This is when your once-nutritionist will collaborate with you to create a customised diet plan that is tailored to your body and does not interfere with your ongoing treatment efficacy while also managing the side effects your body is experiencing.

  1. Are there some safety measures we should follow while preparing or eating the food?

Because the patient's immune system is suppressed during cancer treatment, food safety is paramount, so anything that enters their system must be double-checked for hygienic parameters.

  • Check the labels of packaged items - expiry date, additives, and contents.
  • Don't store food for a long time in the refrigerator or outside
  • Try to have fresh, well-cooked, well-cleaned fruits and vegetables
  • Maintain clean utensils
  • Cook food with proper hygiene
  • Don't eat contaminated food.
  • Patients should not eat in crowded places.

Also Read: Anti Cancer Diets

Expert Advice:

Onco-nutritionists, like other dietitians, generally focus on the type of cancer, patients' energy levels, and calorie-protein intake. However, complications such as constant hiccups and sarcopenia are unique to cancer patients. To overcome these issues while balancing the side effects of their treatment, they require an extremely specialised diet that takes into account their blood reports and the constant change in their bodily levels.

Because one diet plan is not appropriate for every cancer patient, once-nutritionists customise their patients' diet plans based on their cancer type and stage, blood parameters, and calorie-protein requirements. As a result, onco-nutritionists focus more on anti-inflammatory foods to keep patients' inflammatory levels stable so that cancer cells do not grow aggressively. If not treated properly, it can spread to other organs, causing metastasis and additional complications.

  • In the case of ovarian cancer and prostate cancer, for example, onco nutritionists must constantly monitor CA125 levels and PSA levels biomarkers.
  • Another example is patients with oral cancer. A once-nutritionist understands the patient's intake through the tube they are using, whether it is a Ryles tube or a G-J tube if the patient is on a liquid diet. In each stage of cancer, onco-nutritionists revise their diet charts based on the patient's liquid tolerance. If the patient can chew the food again, the diet chart is modified to fit the patient's treatment regimen and medical condition.

There has been clinical evidence supporting the effectiveness of these anti-cancer diet plans. At, we've seen many patients who have greatly benefited from anti-cancer diet plans, with inflammation and biomarkers like CA125 and PSA levels decreasing. Patients who adhere to the diet religiously notice changes in their bodies, as well as an improvement in their health. Their energy levels have increased, and they are no longer tired, fatigued, or weak. Furthermore, their treatment efficacy has significantly increased, and their bodies begin to respond favourably to medical treatments such as chemo, radiation, or immunotherapy.

Snippets from the survivors themselves:

With determination and proper diet, anything can be postponed or stopped.

C. K. Iyengar, who is a Multiple Myeloma Cancer survivor gave many insights into his diet plan as he was undergoing his cancer treatment and chemotherapy sessions. Essentially, after losing his appetite, he lost around 26 kilos as his cancer journey progressed. He started losing the taste of his tongue, became unwilling to eat anything and started basing his body solely on a liquid diet. However, after following a proper anti-cancer diet, he and his caregiver started getting to know the ifs and buts of the cancer diet. His caregiver started feeding him every half an hour to forty-five minutes, however, in small portions. He started eating lots of nuts, as they contain micronutrients that improve both the quality of life and the prognosis of patients with cancer.

In the mornings, I take fluids like green tea, Kadha, infused with the natural combinations of lemon, ginger, cinnamon ajwain, jeera, methi and sometimes garlic and boiled water to declutter my empty stomach. He tried a lot of permutations and combinations, keeping in mind his bodily needs and his cancer types to find the right fit for him, and he pleads all cancer patients to do so too. He even takes a lot of turmeric, which contains the active ingredient curcumin. Curcumin is a natural anti-cancer agent that inhibits tumour growth and the side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It has consistently proven to reduce inflammation, boost antioxidants, manage side effects, and improve the overall quality of life. He often mixed turmeric with hot milk, as it improves the bodys immunity and also helps in the better absorption of nutrients in the body. Lastly, his Extra Virgin Olive Oil intake aided in the killing of cancer cells in the body without harming healthy cells.

Interestingly, Iyengar sir has been following this diet for the past 15 years now along with various other Ayurvedic combinations of Ashwagandha, Triphala, Amla powder, Tulsi powder, ginger powder, neem and guduchi in his Kadhas. These dietary measures and supplements have kept him healthy and his body happy, from within. He pleads the patients to find their perfect anti-cancer diet plan and follow it religiously, even after their cancer journey and remission period is over. In cancer, everything is unique. What works for one person need not necessarily work for the other. Therefore, a proper consultation and anti-cancer diet plan is a must. However, the patient can drink a lot of juices, and fluids, and do pranayam, to manage their bowel issues.

Dont cheat with yourself.

While undergoing treatment, as his onco-nutritionist suggested, Manisha Mandiwala, a third-stage Colorectal Cancer Survivor ate only home-cooked food. Additionally, he avoided various spices as they would accelerate the burning sensations more. Along with it seeds like jeera caused more pain and pricks to him and his bowel movements. He used to include a lot of healthy fluids in his diet, at specific time intervals. Lastly, since he had to increase his protein intake, he started consuming a lot of paneer and beans. However, since his protein requirements were not met with the vegetarian diet, he started taking other protein supplements, mostly after his surgery. Protein is a must after the surgery, to heal the body from within and boost immunity.

While Manishas earlier habits involved smoking and drinking, he quit as soon as he was diagnosed with cancer and even after his treatment was over. To date, he doesnt consume alcohol or intoxicate himself. Interestingly, he grows his cucumber and does not consume the cucumber from outside to pass his stools smoothly. He claims that the cucumber that is available outside is ripened using various pesticides and insecticides in the polyhouses, which ultimately harms a cancer body in the long run causing nausea and vomiting sensations.

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  1. Donaldson MS. Nutrition and cancer: a review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet. Nutr J. 2004 Oct 20;3:19. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-3-19. PMID: 15496224; PMCID: PMC526387.
  2. Emenaker NJ, Vargas AJ. Nutrition and Cancer Research: Resources for the Nutrition and Dietetics Practitioner. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2018 Apr;118(4):550-554. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2017.10.011. Epub 2017 Dec 28. PMID: 29289548; PMCID: PMC5909713.
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