Cancer Patients Suffer Needlessly From Lack of Nutritional Support
Well-nourished cancer patients tend to have better clinical outcomes and lead better quality lives, according to studies published by nutrition and metabolic support experts at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA).
However, reports from the National Cancer Institute indicate that 20-40 percent of cancer patients die from causes related to malnutrition rather than the cancer itself—a startling fact that supports the CTCA study in which experts found that less than 20 percent of patients reported nutritional assistance during treatment.
That is why Carolyn Lammersfeld, MS, RD, LDN, CNSD and National Director of Nutrition for Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Midwestern Regional Medical Center (Midwestern), and her team of registered dietitians specializing in oncology care, created Wholesome Temptation: A Comprehensive Nutrition Guide for Cancer Fighters. The new cookbook offers cancer patients delicious, nutritious, easy-to-prepare recipes categorized by common cancer treatment symptoms such as taste changes, weight loss, sore mouth, and digestive challenges.
CTCA integrates nutrition counseling into its patients' treatment regimen, a care model implemented for decades. "With Wholesome Temptation, we are able to take the same patient nutrition therapy we provide to CTCA patients and make it available to everyone who is battling cancer," she says.
"At CTCA at Midwestern, our dedication to integrative care is evident in our unique understanding of the link between good nutrition and cancer treatment outcomes," Lammersfeld says. "Proper nutrition is essential to maintaining normal body function, supporting a healthy immune system and keeping the body strong while undergoing cancer treatment," she adds. "The recipes and meal planning strategies in Wholesome Temptation can help all cancer patients manage the side effects and symptoms of the treatments that may alter their nutritional health."
Compared to the national average, CTCA invests more money than other hospitals in offering patients superior care by providing great tasting meals high in nutritional value. "We collaborate with our patients to incorporate more plant-based food into their diets with an emphasis on whole grains, vegetables, lean protein sources, fruits and sparingly use healthy fats and oils. Plant-based foods contain vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that support the immune system and have antioxidant and anti-cancer activity," says Lammersfeld.
Dr. Pankaj Vashi, National Clinical Director of Gastroenterology/Nutrition and Metabolic Support at CTCA, says that the chefs and dietitians at CTCA have had numerous requests to publish a cookbook containing recipes for the foods they serve to patients, in hospital bistros and during on-site cooking demonstrations.
"Most everyone recognizes the benefits of incorporating more nutritious foods into their diets; however, many find doing so difficult when it comes to selecting the right foods and preparing them," says Dr. Vashi. "Once patients learn what foods are good for prevention and healing, and then taste them at CTCA, they're motivated to prepare them when they return home," he adds.
"We are thrilled that Wholesome Temptation will allow us to spread the word about the importance of nutrition to cancer patients beyond the walls of CTCA," Dr. Vashi says. "I am confident that this cookbook will serve to improve patients' nutrition status and help provide some enthusiasm and at-home dining enjoyment as patients work to stay strong while battling cancer."