At PearlPoint Cancer Support, we often hear from cancer survivors who are struggling with nutritional side effects related to their medical treatments. In such cases, our on-staff registered dietitian can offer specific suggestions to help survivors manage their nutritional health. Here is an actual case study from one of these survivors:
Felicia* was at a low point. Even with an advanced lung cancer diagnosis, she continued to live at home alone, but it was becoming more difficult for her to deal with the side effects of treatment. Felicia’s side effects from treatment chipped away at her independence and ability to enjoy life. She lost over 60 pounds and her appetite vanished. Poor food intake led to other nutritional problems. She also didn’t have the strength to move around her house without a walker.
Her oncologist referred Felicia to Pearl Point’s registered dietitians for nutrition education. Her physician felt that nutrition interventions could help her manage some side effects and create a realistic plan to address other symptoms through food.
After speaking with Margaret Martin, a registered dietitian, Felicia was able to brainstorm simple food and beverage changes she could make to improve her wellbeing. For example, Felicia’s appetite was best in the morning, so she planned to have a higher calorie meal for breakfast. She also made a list of meal requests to share with friends and family to support her journey to a new healthier weight.
After about three months, Felicia gained 6 pounds. Her appetite is on the upswing, and she is taking a few steps at home without her walker. She happily says: “I m eating foods that I like again and feel much better. I have a plan now to manage (my side effects).”
If you are struggling with side effects like Felicia, you can find a wide range of resources including nutrition tips written by our registered dietitians to help you manage side effects.
* Name has been changed.