Many different mechanisms for the development of malnutrition in a cancer patient have been described. In general, the body is restructuring to maximize the nutrition of the tumor from all available sources: there is a breakdown of adipose and muscle tissue, inadequate use of energy supplied with food. At the same time, depletion progresses regardless of external nutrition. The degree of metabolic disorders depends on the stage of the tumor process. Depletion of the body is not only a symptom that affects the patient’s quality of life. Patients with cachexia-anorexia syndrome have lower life expectancy and poorer overall treatment outcomes, with reduced survival in proportion to wasting. In case of malnutrition, the risk of developing complications of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, as well as postoperative complications, increases significantly. Lack of nutrition can be the reason for premature termination of combined treatment courses, reducing the effectiveness of the therapy. Nutritional deficiencies can be compensated for by using special nutritional mixtures, such as Nutricomp liquid food.
Common misconceptions about nutrition and cancer
- I am not losing weight, I cannot have a lack of nutrition
Stable weight is not always a guarantee of the absence of metabolic disorders. Some cancer patients may even gain weight despite their advanced disease, but only an increase in adipose tissue occurs, while muscle tissue continues to be lost, protein loss and energy deficits increase. This is due to the fact that the body’s recognition of energy expenditure is impaired in comparison with its intake.
- Excessive nutrition will stimulate tumor growth. I’d rather starve!
This is the most common and most dangerous misconception. Fasting threatens the development of serious complications, a decrease in the quality of life and a deterioration in the overall results of treatment. International recommendations on medical nutrition indicate that it is absolutely safe for cancer patients and does not lead to a deterioration in treatment results. It is important to know that nutritional therapy is a necessary therapy.
- I am nauseous, I have no appetite, which means that the body does not need nutrition now
Nausea and lack of appetite caused by cancer or chemotherapy and radiation therapy are not normal body defenses. 4. Nausea is a pathological condition that requires active treatment. Nausea is often accompanied by exhaustion of the body, and it is not a contraindication, but an indication for the use of medical nutrition, with which the patient can receive the substances he needs to maintain strength and fight the disease. In case of severe nausea and vomiting, antiemetic drugs are recommended before meals.
I took medical food, I feel sick from it, I even vomited once!
Nutritional therapy does not cause nausea and vomiting. Nausea and vomiting are caused by the disease itself or the treatment being given. In such situations, it is necessary to consult a doctor and conduct antiemetic therapy. Nutritional formula is an important component of treatment and can help you cope with the condition faster. Whenever possible, their use should not be interrupted.
- I tried nutritional therapy, took it for several days, it does not help!
Nutritional therapy must be used for a long time. Severe wasting cannot be corrected within a few days of treatment, just as a severe infection cannot be cured with 2-3 doses of antibiotics. The minimum courses of therapeutic nutrition are designed for regular use for several weeks. Then you can judge the effect of the therapy.
- Health food is chemistry. Better to eat more regular foods.
Medical nutrition contains all the necessary nutrients that are present in conventional foods, only in a form that is readily available to the body. It does not stress the liver and is easier to digest. In patients with a lack of nutrition, the work of the gastrointestinal tract is disrupted, which is why it is impossible to restore the nutritional balance in a timely manner by taking conventional products.
Fight nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite
The only effective method of dealing with nausea and vomiting is the appointment of special antiemetic drugs . Their use should be carried out only under the supervision of a physician. In case of loss of appetite, the use of specialized therapeutic nutrition Nutrikomp Drink Plus , Nutrikomp Drink Plus Fiber , Nutrikomp vegetable and chicken soup can be effective . Nutricomp drinks are complete, balanced mixtures that can be the only source of nutrition or be an addition to the main diet. Nutricomp products are presented in various sweet and savory flavors, which are specially developed taking into account the changes in the taste sensations of patients who need long-term intake of therapeutic enteral nutrition.
The main goal of the diet during chemotherapy and radiation therapy is to prevent the development of complications from the stomach and intestines (diarrhea, mucositis, etc.) or to try to eliminate or reduce these complications. The recommendations below should be followed.
Increase your intake of pure liquids (water, light juices, decaf tea, etc.).
Use the BRAT diet (Banana, Rice, Apple, Toast) – bananas, rice, apples, crackers.
Stick to frequent, fractional meals in small portions .
In addition, it is necessary to limit the use of the following foods:
milk and dairy products, since they contain lactose (milk sugar), which is poorly tolerated by patients due to the enzymatic (lactase) deficiency that occurs during treatment;
fatty foods (poorly tolerated by patients due to the arising enzymatic (lipase) deficiency during treatment;
spices and spicy foods, alcohol, coffee and other products containing caffeine, since they irritate the already suffering gastrointestinal mucosa even more.
If diarrhea worsens against the background of adherence to dietary recommendations, the doctor should prescribe special antidiarrheal drugs. If they are ineffective, intravenous infusions may additionally be prescribed.
Specialized health food
The use of nutritional therapy significantly reduces the risk of interruption or change in the treatment regimen. Preferred for patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy, if there is no need for feeding through a tube, is the appointment of ready-made liquid nutrition Nutrikomp. Specialized nutrition Nutricomp is recommended to be used from the moment of diagnosis of nutritional deficiency and until the restoration of nutritional status after a course of chemotherapy or radiation treatment. It is also recommended for all patients undergoing combination therapy for head and neck tumors. In other cases, the appointment depends on the degree of risk of malnutrition, the planned duration of chemotherapy or radiation treatment and the characteristics of the course of the disease. You can ask your doctor about the advisability of using therapeutic nutrition in these cases.
Benefits of Nutricomp products
Small volume - with nausea and aversion to food, it is much easier to drink a small volume.
Sterility – In immunocompromised patients, this will help prevent nutritional complications from developing.
Adapted sweet and savory tastes to accommodate changes in patient taste.
Good portability .