Food to Fight Cancer
A 2-Part Series
SOURCE: Medscape Oncology ~ 11-20-2013
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By Laura A. Stokowski, RN, MS
Editor’s Note: In this 2-part series, Medscape looks at diet as an essential therapeutic strategy for cancer patients. Part 1 focuses on the nutritional assessment of cancer patients, foods that help patients cope with side effects, and ways to make fortifying foods more appealing to the cancer-dulled appetite. Part 2 looks at extreme nutrition and the growing interest in fighting cancer with food.
Speaking to Medscape on these topics are 2 high-profile cancer nutrition and food experts. Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, is a dietician, author, speaker, and internationally recognized expert in chronic disease prevention health, and cancer nutrition. Rebecca Katz, MS, is a chef; nutritionist; national speaker; and award-winning author whose books include One Bite at a Time, The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, and The Longevity Kitchen.
Nutrition Affects Cancer Outcomes
After receiving a diagnosis of cancer, a patient’s thoughts often turn to treatment options and prognosis. Many patients face surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of those strategies. Most of their questions and concerns are about how they will get through it all.
Nutrition is not likely to be on their list of immediate concerns, but it should be. Not only will patients reap the benefits of being healthier and better able to withstand treatments and side effects, but mental outlook and quality of life can be improved by taking control of one’s nutritional health. Patients might have little control over their disease, but what they eat remains under their own purview, and deciding to eat well and taking the steps to do so is empowering.
“The days when healthcare professionals could just tell cancer patients to eat whatever they want, and not to worry about what they eat, are over,” says Rebecca Katz, author of The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen.  “Patients are starting to rebel against that. They are realizing that what you eat can make a difference in how you feel, your outcomes, the side effects you experience, and how well you will get through treatment. We need to acknowledge that food is important.”
No “One Size Fits All” Strategy