Evaluate your dietary needs
Before doing anything, doctors and nutritionists should know about your disease and your diet. They will ask a lot of questions about your disease history and your appetite and your weight.
This may seem too much to deal with if you are very tired, weak or sick. But it’s important to evaluate them properly for your nutritional problems so that you get the right treatment.
Your doctor will check you out and maybe arrange tests and other questions.
- Nutritional evaluation
- Physical evaluation
- Nutrition Guidelines
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published guidelines on nutrition support for adults. This guide says that patients should be screened for signs of malnutrition or risk of becoming malnourished.
This screening should be performed when the person is admitted to hospital or at the first outpatient meeting, and includes body weight index (BMI) control, weight loss assessment, and risk factors for malnutrition.
The purpose of the evaluation is to ensure that people get the help they need. This helps them recover faster from their illness and treatment.
What can you do
You are probably the most important person in ensuring that your nutritional problems remain under control.
You must notify someone if:
- You miss your appetite
- You feel bad
- You’re in pain
- You are worried about your weight
Do not just try to overcome yourself. Do not be afraid to ask questions and ask doctors and nurses to explain things simply.
If you understand your dietary problems, you will be much better able to cope and improve your situation.
Specialists who can help you
The specialists below will help you solve your dietary problems.
- Doctors and nurses specialize
- Language therapists
If you have problems with diet, digestion or weight loss, you should talk to your doctor, nurse or cancer nurse.
Your doctor may direct you to a hospital nutritionist for help. Many cancer units and hospitals now have food especially for cancer patients. They work with doctors to decide how best to deal with food issues.
Other people who may be important to help manage diet issues include:
- Your family and friends
- Special nurse
- Social worker
- Religious leaders
Medication for Diet Problems
Find a cure that can help with diet problems and possible side effects.
This is especially for people who have lost a lot of weight or have anorexia. They work well in some people, but not everyone.
You are most likely given this hormone drug:
- Megesterol acetate
- Medroxyprogesterone acetate
Both increase appetite and food intake in cancer patients who have nutritional problems.
They can also help you lose weight, but this is not possible within the first 4 or 6 weeks. There is also some doubt about how effective weight gain is. Most of it looks oily and fluid, not muscle mass.
However, this drug is also known to enhance your sense of wellbeing – a big advantage if you feel very low, anxious or depressed about your cancer.
- Anti-sickness drugs (anti-emetic)
Nausea and pain are better controlled with drugs. These drugs are called anti-nausea or anti-vomiting drugs.
Over the last 20 years, anti-nausea drugs are much better. Today there are many more to choose from. If the medication does not work for you, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Often they can suggest others that you can try.
- Medication for diarrhea
The most common diarrhea medications used are:
- Codeine phosphate
- Imodium (Ioperamide)
- Lomotil (diphenoxylate)
All of these drugs slow down the bowel movement. Codeine phosphate is also a pain reliever. But it is also used to treat severe diarrhea because it causes constipation.
- Medication for constipation
This is called laxative. There are some that work differently.
- Bulk forming laxatives – swells in your intestines, softens and increases the amount of stool that pushes your stomach to excrete them.
- Stimulant laxatives – this work speeds up bowel movement.
- Osmotic laxatives – this works by taking more water in your intestines, making your stools softer and easier to pass.
Steroids are used for many diseases and conditions. They are made naturally in the body. Now they are also made artificially and used as medicines. They can be given as tablets, fluids or injections.
Steroids are often used to help control chemotherapy disease in patients with tumors. They can also increase your appetite, food intake, and sense of well-being.
They are sometimes used to help people gain weight but can be a problem if you use them long term. Most of the weight you get on steroids is due to water retention.
After taking it from 3 to 4 weeks, they begin to interfere with the production of protein in muscle. If used long term, can cause muscle waste. Therefore steroids should be used with caution under the supervision of a physician.
Painkillers are also called analgesics or analgesia. A serious pain can make you lose your appetite and feel nauseated. If your pain is under control, you tend to feel like eating.
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