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Cancer Survivors Urgently Need Better Nutritional Support
New findings from a study conducted at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom underline the importance of improving nutritional support for patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) throughout the diagnosis, treatment and post-treatment phases of their cancer journey. In the study, a national survey was created to assess the quantity and quality of nutritional advice and support given to CRC survivors in the UK. More than 69% of participants said that they did not receive any nutritional advice or support during diagnosis, treatment or post-treatment from their healthcare team, including those living with an ostomy (an artificial opening in the abdomen that allows for waste to be collected outside the body), which calls for significant changes to one’s lifestyle and habits. Many participants reported facing many nutritional difficulties, including being unsure about what to eat, diarrhea, loss of appetite and changes to taste and smell. Participants expressed a strong need for more personalized nutritional advice that addressed their unique needs.
These findings stress the importance of greater coordination between dieticians and the rest of the patient’s cancer care team who will accompany the patient throughout their diagnosis, treatment and post-treatment phases. While a great deal of nutritional information is available online for patients with CRC, it remains a mere starting point for conversations with a clinical team in order to best tailor nutritional advice to the unique needs of each individual.
For more information about eating well throughout your cancer journey, visit our Foods that Fight Cancer website. It is dedicated to providing patients with nutritional advice from registered dieticians from oncology centres across Canada. Here you can find delicious recipes to make at home and nutritional guidance for specific needs such as what to eat after ostomy surgery, managing nutrition-related side effects, and eating well after treatment.