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Nutrition in the Patient with Lung Cancer


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Nutrition in the Patient with Lung Cancer

Rhone M. Levin, MEd, R.D, CSO, LD

Introduction

Nutrition is important in cancer prevention, treatment, and survivorship. Food provides the building blocks needed by cells for protection, repair, and healing. The benefits of good nutrition during cancer treatment include improved quality of life and decreased frequency of side effects, complications, and treatment breaks.

Lung cancer treatment can create a burden of healing that can overwhelm even a healthy patient’s nutritional reserve. The cancer can affect appetite, digestion, and use of nutrients. Treatment regimens such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation can cause side effects that interfere with adequate nutritional intake. A patient’s nutritional status can deteriorate during the course of treatment. Decisions about treatment modality or chemotherapy medication may be determined based on general health performance status scores.

Weight changes and oral intake influence those performance scores and treatment options.

Many people begin lung cancer treatment already experiencing some decreased appetite (anorexia) and

meal portion size. Anorexia may be noted as disinterest in usual favorite foods, a decrease in the enjoyable

taste experienced with foods or beverages, and an early sense of fullness when eating (early satiety).

Among patients with advanced nonsmall cell lung cancer, 61% are malnourished. The effect of anorexia and early satiety is evidenced by decreased oral intake and increased weight loss. Malnutrition is associated with worse outcomes in patients treated for cancer, because nutritional deficiencies can decrease response

to therapy, quality of life, and survival.

Taking action to improve nutritional status may improve strength, energy level, and quality of life.

The challenge of oncologic nutrition includes guiding patients through cancer treatment and coaching

patients and families to work with the challenges that interfere with getting enough nutrition. The goal of

nutrition in treatment is to keep the healing process moving as efficiently as possible. In this chapter, we

review the factors in effect during lung cancer and treatment; the goals of nutrition and healing; Lung Cancer Choices common barriers to eating and effective strategies to manage these barriers; and resources for use during

treatment and into survivorship.

MORE: http://lungcancercap.org/choices/pdf/8_ ... 052312.pdf

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Katie:

Thanks for posting this. I wish I had found this site while I was going through treatment. My family thought I was being unreasonable and stubborn when I could not eat and lost interest in food.

I did my best, but it was tough. It is good information for those still eaely in their diagnosis or going through chemo or radiation to share with their families or to ask their doctors for help with this issue.

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