Nutritional and Wellness Services

Diet and exercise play a critical role during and after cancer treatment. A childhood cancer patient’s nutritional status may have an impact on a number of things – patient quality of life (both physical and mental functioning), incidence of infection or metabolic problems while on therapy, chemotherapy drug dosing, treatment-related toxicity, cancer survival outcomes, and even long-term survivors’ quality of life and risk of secondary cancers and mortality as adults.

 Services include:

  • Education for families on ways to maximize nutritional health during and after treatment
  • Education for older children and teenagers about the need for good nutrition so they can take part in steps required to keep their nutritional level as high as possible
  • Education about the types of and reasons for nutrition-related problems (treatment-caused nausea, vomiting, diarrhea; change in sense of taste from chemotherapy; radiation-related malfunction of the stomach or intestines; etc)
  • Application of appropriate measurement techniques (weight, height, body mass index (BMI), mid upper arm circumference, etc) to assess nutritional status and body composition periodically throughout therapy to maximize function and survival
  • Instruction of a proper diet to complement the patient’s exercise program
  • Assistance with specialized feedings (tube feedings to the stomach, intravenous feedings, other), if needed
  • Assistance with prevention of overweight/obesity during treatment (due to drugs such as prednisone), or after completion of treatment
  • Education and support to lay a  sound foundation of good nutritional habits for life beyond cancer treatment