Nutritional Side Effects of Cancer Treatments

Nutritional Side Effects of Cancer Treatments

Let’s imagine that you are working at a hospice community outreach center as a clinical nutrition aide and the supervising RD asks you to prepare a preliminary nutrition assessment on a stage 4 colon cancer patient. The patient has experienced severe weight loss (more than 20% weight loss) and is suffering from N/V/D (nausea/vomiting/diarrhea) due to the extensive chemotherapy, radiation, and surgical resection of part of his colon. The nursing notes reveal that the patient is unable to tolerate his meals (bland/soft diet) and is even having a hard time keeping clear liquids down when taking his medication.

· Why does extensive chemotherapy, radiation and colon resection (surgery where part of the diseased colon tissue is removed) often  lead to such serious negative nutritional outcomes?

· What nutrition therapy options are available to patients with these types of nutrition complications?

· Which nutrition therapy method would you suggest and why?

· What other considerations need to be made before making the nutrition therapy recommendation to the supervising dietitian and Physician? (Please consider ethical aspects, family wishes, overall medical prognosis etc.).

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