What is an Oncology Dietitian?

Your Care Team: Oncology Dietitian

Oncology dietitians specialize in helping patients with cancer adjust their nutritional intake to optimize health and minimize side effects caused by cancer and cancer treatments.

By: SERO Staff

What is an Oncology Dietitian?

An oncology dietitian specializes in helping cancer patients and their caregivers develop a plan for good nutrition. By achieving good overall health, proper nutrition can help reduce the risk of cancer, keep patients healthier during treatment, and combat side effects and illness.

Dietitians work individually with patients, as well as with their families and caregivers, to figure out which foods the patient can eat, how to develop good habits, and how making good nutritional choices can allow a patient to actively engage in controlling their care and health.

During appointments with oncology dietitians, patients and their families can expect:

  • Testing and evaluation for nutritional shortcomings or areas of risk
  • A discussion about planning and the setting of nutritional goals
  • Simple, practical tips and advice to help patients achieve their nutritional needs on a daily basis
  • Advice on ways to deal with weight loss, fatigue, and nausea brought on by illness or treatment side effects
  • Personalized guidelines based on the patients biological needs and unique circumstances
  • Plans for families or caregivers in support of the patient’s nutritional needs
  • Recipes, lists of foods, dietary supplements, and vitamins

SERO coordinates with oncology dietitians frequently as part of the overall care team that works together to treat our patients.

The Benefits of Good Nutrition

Good nutrition in cancer patients has been linked to better chances of recovery and lower incidences of remission. The field of oncology nutrition typically focuses on personalized nutrition plans to help patients deal with the unique challenges of their illness and treatment plan.

With the right dietary guidance, a patient’s nutrition can be optimized to support treatment and combat symptoms and side effects. Additional benefits include:

  • Preventing or combating malnourishment
  • Preventing the deterioration of lean body mass
  • Fortify the patient to better withstand or tolerate treatment
  • Reduce complications and related illnesses
  • Bolster strength and energy
  • Fortify the immune system
  • Boost recovery and speed healing
  • Boost quality of life

Eating Well When Feeling Sick

Many patients will experience symptoms related to their disease or side effects brought on by their treatments that will make it less pleasant and more challenging to eat the right way on a day to day basis.

When faced with these challenges, it is important that cancer patients work closely with oncology dietitians to get the nutrition they need in whatever way works for them. Once a patient begins to feel better after treatment, dietitians will continue to work with that patient to help build good habits and concentrate on eating well in the long term.

In many cases, patients undergoing cancer treatments are able to maintain their weights and achieve high levels of nutrition with no drop off due to side effects by practicing good habits and setting smart goals.

To learn more about oncology nutrition, talk to your doctor about finding a dietitian to help you plan, or call us at (704) 380-0730 to get more information.