Food for Thought: Nutrition Considerations for Patients With Cancer

Season 3, Episode 39,  Mar 15, 01:35 PM

In this episode of “The Vitals,” we spoke with Caitlin Benda, MBA, MS, RD, CSO, LDN, a clinical oncology nutritionist supervisor at American Oncology Network, about dietary strategies to support patients undergoing curative cancer therapies. 

Throughout our conversation, Benda discussed how nurses can help change a patient’s approach to diet in order to combat complications brought about by nausea and appetite loss. In addition, she highlights the importance of allowing patients some autonomy in their diet, common gastrointestinal—related side effects with different cancer treatments, and the importance of nutrition screening tools in increasing necessary referrals.

“Oncology nurses, especially infusion nurses, are spending a lot of time around patients, gathering information from these patients that maybe the patient did not have time to communicate in the same amount of detail to the physician or to whoever they were seeing in the office,” notes Benda. “Using that information and sending referrals to dieticians early on in the process [is vital]. We know that malnutrition is a very significant problem among individuals going through cancer treatments, and it is much easier to prevent malnutrition than it is to treat malnutrition.”