NUTRITIONAL CHALLENGES AND DIET THERAPY IN RADIATION AND CHEMOTHERPY
Radiation and Chemotherapy is promising treatment for cancer patients. Having adequate knowledge of likely side effects and remedial treatment can prevent adverse effects. These are listed as follows
- MUCOSITIS: Oral mucositis is a common side effect of chemotherapy leading to decreased oral intake, difficulty in swallowing and sour mouth. Diet can be modified to bland diet, liquid or soft diet. Use of straws to drink fluids, suck on ice chips to sooth irritation, avoid citrus, spices and salty foods.
- ALTERED TASTE: Alteration in taste and smell are common side effects of chemotherapy/ radiation. Provision of food at room temperature, use of lemon and salt to enhance taste, fresh or frozen foods. Hydration and sipping using thick wide straw sallows larger consumption
- DIARRHEA: Another side of chemotherapy/radiation leading to fluid electrolyte imbalance, malnutrition and also alteration in digestion and absorption. Include low fiber food and plenty of fluids and electrolytes.
- CONSTIPATION: Occurs as a side effect of chemotherapy/ radiation therapy. Including high fiber food, plenty of fluids, juices, hot beverages to stimulate bowel movement.
CANCER CACHEXIA: Characterized by weight loss, anorexia, generalized weakness, muscle wasting and immunosuppression. Inclusion of small and frequent meals, small portion or caloric dense food or drinks, oral nutritional supplements, high biological value proteins are recommended.