Importance of nutrition for cancer patients

Denise Cykiert, RD at Botsford Cancer Center

Joan (right), a patient at Botsford Cancer Center, samples fruit and yogurt parfaits made by Botsford dietitian Denise Cykiert during a cooking demonstration at the center.

If you’re fighting cancer, nutrition is a big concern.  It is extremely important for people with cancer to make food choices high in nutritional value, including vitamins, minerals, calories and protein because treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy can take a significant toll on the body.

While these cancer treatments are effective at treating the disease, they can destroy a portion of your healthy cells too.  Your body needs adequate calories and protein to rebuild itself, so it is important to choose foods high in nutritional value. If a person who is fighting cancer is not eating well, the healing process may be delayed and adverse effects can prevent the patient from completing the prescribed treatment plan, which in turn may affect the patient’s outcome.  If one does not take in enough calories, they may lose weight, feel overly fatigued, and generally experience a poorer quality of life.

On the other hand, foods that are high in nutritional value can promote healing, control the symptoms of cancer and reduce the side effects of cancer treatment. So at Botsford Cancer Center, we’re always on the lookout for foods and recipes that our patients can easily make at home to help nourish them through treatment. Easy to prepare, small snacks usually work best for our cancer patients, like this recipe for fruit and yogurt parfaits.

If you try the parfaits, let us know what you think in the comments below!

About Denise Cykiert, RD

Denise is a registered dietician at Botsford Hospital and Botsford Cancer Center.
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