Infuse Issue 11 May 2020 | Page 22
Supported by Nestlé Health Science
for people living
– an oncology dietitian’s
by Jacqueline Baker, Senior Oncology Dietitian at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse
hether personally or professionally, cancer has likely
touched us all. It is no secret that people with cancer can
face significant difficulties eating and drinking enough to
maintain weight, hydration and overall nutritional status.
The challenges come from multiple fronts.
Sometimes it’s mechanical, with the location
of a cancer itself preventing adequate
intake. Sometimes treatment-related side
effects can impact upon a person’s ability
to eat and drink; despite advancements
in oncology treatments, with new
chemotherapy agents, targeted therapies,
surgical innovations and immunotherapy,
side effects can be highly distressing.
© Dietitian Connection
Some that impact oral intake include
dysgeusia (taste alterations), mucositis,
dysphagia, nausea, vomiting, xerostomia
(dry mouth), pain, fatigue, anorexia,
diarrhoea and constipation. Additionally,
some of the treatments themselves
can increase nutrition requirements,
particularly for protein and energy.
Infuse | May 2020