National Cancer Survivors Day

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Fight Fatigue with Food

by Danielle Karsies, MS, RD, CSO

Feeling drained? You’re not alone. Almost all cancer survivors will experience fatigue at some point during their treatment or recovery. While eating may not feel worth the effort, especially when you don’t have much of an appetite, it is. Food is the fuel on which your body runs. Just like you can’t expect your car to run with­out gas, your body cannot run without food. To fight fatigue, you need to con­sume enough calories and protein from high-octane foods to rev your engine.

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Preventing Weight Loss during Cancer Treatment

by Colleen Gill, MS, RD, CSO

Three common problems lead to the rapid weight loss associated with many cancers and cancer treatments. Without hunger, it’s easy to forget to eat. When food no longer tastes right, there’s little incentive to finish. Filling up on half the food you could previously eat thwarts anyone’s best intentions.

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Food to Fight Cancer, Food to Fuel Life

by Cassandra Vanderwall, MS, RD, CDE, CPT

Cancer treatment is a battle. The body and mind experience changes that begin with the disease and proceed through treatment and recovery. These changes include several nutrition-related alterations, such as changes in appetite, diminished ability to eat, and high blood sugar with insulin resistance. Most of these metabolic changes are caused by alterations in the body’s immune response that occur because of cancer or its treatment.

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Staying Well Nourished through Cancer Treatment

by Jeannine B. Mills, MS, RD, CSO, LD

The nutritional well-being of cancer survivors can be significantly challenged by cancer treatment. Nutritional goals for most people facing cancer treatment include maintaining a healthy weight, optimizing calorie needs, minimizing vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and managing treatment-related side effects. Evidence shows that those who are able to maintain a healthy weight and optimize calorie intake during treatment will have an improved response to treatment, enhanced recovery, and a better quality of life.

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When Food Just Doesn’t Taste the Same

by Laura McLaughlin, RN, PhD, and Suzanne Mahon, RN, DNSc, AOCN, APNG

Taste helps identify food preferences and stimulates appetite. Food has the power to comfort, as pleasant-tasting foods stimulate the pleasure centers of the brain. Taste also helps identify whether food is safe to consume, because foods that taste abnormal, bitter, or sour may be spoiled or tainted.

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Food for Thought

by Maria Petzel, RD, CSO, LD, CNSC

When so many things seem out of control, making good nutrition choices can help you play a more active role in your treatment and recovery. Making the right food choices can help manage symptoms, improve treatment tolerance, and improve quality of life after therapy. A healthy lifestyle may also decrease the chances of recurrence for some cancers.

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No Appetite?

by Barbara L. Grant, MS, RD, CSO, LD, Abby S. Bloch, PhD, RD, Kathryn K. Hamilton, MA, RD, SCO, CDN, and Cynthia A. Thompson, PhD, RD, CSO

Things like the feeling of full­ness or changes in taste and smell can cause changes in appetite. Having a decreased appe­tite can make getting the calories and nutrients you need a challenge. Do not be afraid to break the rules, try new things, and eat what you want, when you want to eat it.

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American Cancer Society Nutrition Guidelines Stress Need for Supportive Environment

Updated guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer prevention from the American Cancer Society stress the importance of creating social and physical environments that support healthy behaviors. The report includes updated recommendations for individual choices regarding diet and physical activity patterns, but emphasizes that those choices occur within a community context that can either help or hinder healthy behaviors.

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