A woman reads the nutrition facts on the back of a box

Consulting A Dietitian

I am blessed to get my cancer care from a good institution where additional support is readily provided. My oncology nurse was the one who referred me to a local registered dietitian. The cancer agency in the city I live has a number of dietitians who have training and skills in walking through meal plans for patients undergoing cancer treatment. They have tons of tips on what works well with their patients. Most of their tips are based on scientific evidence. I am so impressed by how experienced they are. My dietician said she also learned a lot from her patients.

First appointment with dietitian

My first appointment was by phone during COVID-19. She got to know my daily routine particularly in relation to my diet plans and nutrition values during cancer treatment. I have received her advice on how to improve my meal plan including what to avoid and add for more nutrition. We set nutritional goals on a daily basis for my condition. There was a big realization on my part that I have so much more to learn about good nutrition. She was another great support in my cancer journey. I was given many tips to try and use in my daily diet.

Diet for a cancer patient

In my case, she has advised having a high protein diet. My targeted therapy has indicated I take them with food to maximize its effectiveness. The rule of the thumb is having a well-balanced meal plan. Making sure all food groups must be included as well as following the required daily intake of each group. My TKI has caused a jump in weight gain. I have reduced my meal portions to combat it. Furthermore, watching out my carbohydrate intake to a normal level has helped. I am conscious of looking at the nutrition facts of all the food I consume.

How can diet to help with anemia?

The worst side effect I have experienced with my Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor, a TKI, has been anemia. My medical oncologist would not resort to lower my TKI dose if there was no serious toxicity. My dietician gave me a one-page list of iron-rich foods that I can add to my diet.

Furthermore, she reminded me to increase vitamin C foods so iron can be absorbed better and vitamin B-12 to reduce the risk of anemia. However, they are not a guarantee to reverse my anemia. They have a slight effect. My medical oncologist has fully agreed to that.

Not a panacea for lung cancer

Diet with nutrition may help you live with lung cancer well but it is not one of the cancer panaceas. For me, dietitians are there to guide me on the right path to have improved nutritional intake as I go through my cancer treatment. They know full well how to optimize health through developing a plan. I really count my dietician as an added support to keep me healthier and survive better during my cancer journey. I have gained another specialist to add to my health care team.

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