We need a healthy body for growth, to repair body tissue, and to keep our immune systems healthy. When we do not eat enough and the body doesn’t get enough nutrients, it starts looking at the body fat stores for energy but also breaks down muscle for the fuel it needs. This may mean that it takes longer to recover from illness and can lower our resistance to infection.
Good nutrition is especially important if you have cancer because both the illness and its treatments can change the way you eat. Cancer and cancer treatments can also affect the way your body tolerates certain foods and uses nutrients.
“Eating healthy and having an active lifestyle can help prevent cancer, but for patients undergoing cancer treatments, there are some changes in their diets,” according to Gerard Wong, a Senior Dietitian Allied Health Parkway Cancer Centre.
Gerard Wong is a Graduated from Flinders University, South Australia with a Bachelor in Nutrition and Dietetics and obtained further certificates in renal nutrition from the Northern Adelaide Renal and Transplant Service as well as sports nutrition for dietitian from Sports Dietitian Australia, Canberra, Australia.
He is currently practicing at Parkway Cancer Centre, developing his specialty in cancer nutrition. He derives joy from being able to effect changes and improve patient’s health outcomes.
The nutrient needs of people with cancer vary from person to person. Your cancer care team can help you identify your nutrition goals and plan ways to help you meet them. Eating well while you’re being treated for cancer might help you.
Having a good nutrition while treated will make you feel better, keep up your strength and energy up, maintain your weight and your body’s store of nutrients.
It can also help you better tolerate treatment-related side effects, lower the risk of infection and recover faster.
“Food safety is also important. Because some cancer patients have reaction from the treatments they received, so being able to eat enough food can be quite difficult,” Wong added.
In conclusion, eating the right foods and maintaining a good nutrition is important not just to cancer patients but to all people.