The Whole Package – Nutrition Planning for Your Post-Chemotherapy Patients

Treating patients in the recovery stage of cancer, the post-chemotherapy patient, can be incredibly rewarding.

They’ve already been through the fire.

Now they’re looking for your help in dealing with issues of recovery – coming to terms with the side effects from

∙           Chemotherapy

∙           Radiation

∙           Experimental treatments including possible hormone therapy

Chances are your post-chemotherapy patients are suffering from

∙           Loss of appetite

∙           Nausea and other digestive issues

∙           Post chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy

∙           Dry mouth

Or some combination of these post-chemotherapy symptoms.

One of the most important pieces of the post-chemotherapy recovery puzzle is nutritional support.

If you’re not already offering diet and nutrition counseling to your post-chemotherapy patients, it’s time to start. More and more research is confirming that proper nutrition is key in successful recovery from chemotherapy and other cancer treatments, as well as recovering from the cancer itself.

The body requires essential materials, vitamins and nutrients, to heal.  Without them, no medical treatment has any hope of succeeding.

Helping your post-chemotherapy patients with planning their diet and making food appealing again will work wonders for the success rate of your treatment in this patient population.

Here are some things to think about when designing a cancer recovery nutrition program:

Basic Cancer Nutrition Tips[1]

The post-chemotherapy patient’s body (or even the patient preparing to start chemotherapy) needs increased support for the immune system.  The best option for doing that is a diet rich in whole foods that are easy on the digestive system.  Make sure your patients’ cancer recovery diet includes foods that are high in anti-oxidants and protein.  Your post-chemotherapy patient diet plan should include foods rich in vitamins, especially vitamins C, D and E and nutrients like soy isoflavones, amino acids, folic acid, l-glutamine, calcium and carotenoids.  Encourage your patients to drink as much water as possible and don’t worry about keeping their calorie count low.  This is the time to take in all the calories they need, as long as the calories come from beneficial foods.

Chemotherapy and radiation may affect your post-chemotherapy patients’ ability to digest foods so encourage them to invest in a good food processor and/or juicer.  Both of these tools will allow them to prepare foods that are easy to ingest and digest while still getting the nutrition they need.

Foods To Rebuild The Post-Chemotherapy Patient’s Body

It’s easy to say “eat foods that are high in vitamins” but your post-chemotherapy patients may not know exactly which foods they need.  Here are some suggestions for foods to aid in cancer recovery and fighting chemotherapy symptoms[2]:

Vitamin C

∙           Red cabbage

∙           Kiwi fruit

∙           Oranges

∙           Red and Green Bell Peppers

∙           Potatoes

Vitamin D

∙           Salmon and tuna

Vitamin E

∙           Nuts, including almonds and peanuts

∙           Avocados

∙           Broccoli

Carotenoids

∙           Apricots

∙           Carrots

∙           Greens, especially collard greens and spinach

∙           Sweet potatoes

Soy Isoflavones

∙           Soybeans

∙           Tofu

∙           Soy milk – this could also be helpful if you need to go lactose-free

Folic Acid

∙           Asparagus

∙           Dried beans

∙           Beets

∙           Brussels sprouts

∙           Garbanzo beans

∙           Lentils

∙           Turkey

These are just a few examples.  If you’re unsure about other nutrition recommendations, talk to us.  We can help assist you in devising diet plans that will help rebuild their immune systems.

Use Herbs and Spices to Give Your Food More Flavor

Herbs and spices are a natural way to flavor food without adding man-made chemicals.  And many herbs have natural medicinal properties of their own.  Suggest these herbs and spices to help your post-chemotherapy patients make their food taste better.  If it tastes better, they’ll eat more:

∙           Cinnamon

∙           Basil

∙           Coriander

∙           Cumin

∙           Ginger (natural anti-inflammatory properties, too)

∙           Garlic

∙           Mint (great for fighting nausea as well)

∙           Fennel

∙           Turmeric

We hope this gives you some insight into diet planning and nutrition counseling for your post chemotherapy patients. Offering these services to your cancer patient population can be the missing piece in the puzzle of successfully treating the patients in this growing specialty and help you build a successful medical practice as well.  The combination of your medical expertise and proper nutrition support and counseling is a win/win for doctor and patient.

When you are ready, let them know you’re there to help them.

For more tips on growing a successful chiropractic, physical therapy or pain management practice, log on to http://perfectpractice web.com to download a FREE E-Book Copy of my 5 star Amazon  “Living and Practicing by Design” at http://perfectpracticeweb.com.


[1] www.cancer.org/Treatment/SurvivorshipDuringandAfterTreatment

[2] www.mayoclinic.com/health/cancer-survivor

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