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Cancer treatment can affect both the appetite and digestion of a Child with Cancer, making it difficult to enjoy the foods they usually love.
Added to the fact that they are just feeling miserable and do not have an appetite because of the cancer itself, they also have to deal with cancer treatment side-effects such as Appetite Loss, Diarrhoea, Nausea and Vomiting, Dehydration, Taste Changes, a Sore mouth, Difficulty Swallowing (Dysphagia) and more…
While your child may not always feel like eating, it’s important to do what you can to help them maintain their intake of calories, protein and fluids. Think of good nutrition as an essential part of their recovery and do what you can to make it a priority.
Children with Cancer generally have many problems caused by their cancer and by the cancer treatments they are undergoing, such as Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy, including losing weight, inability to eat or swallow, and an impaired immune system exactly at the time that they need everything they can get to fight this devastating disease.
Part of the answer to these problems may lay in a nutrient-loaded porridge that was developed by the late Dr Basil Kransdorff, a South African doctor, specifically to cater to feeding HIV patients and babies.
The late Dr Basil Kransdorff and wife Rose’s work helping an NGO called CARE (Community AIDS Response) at the Joburg General Hospital, led to a worldwide debate on Food Security vs Nutrition Security.
Back in 2000 there was no medication and Doctors were telling patients diagnosed with HIV to go home, eat a healthy well-balanced diet and prepare to die. It was a difficult time when little was known about treating those living with HIV.
Add to this some of the side-effects of these treatments such as Constipation, Diarrhoea, Difficulty Chewing, Dehydration, Difficulty Swallowing (Dysphagia), Dry Mouth (Xerostomia), Mouth Sores or Mucositis, Nausea and Vomiting, and Taste Changes, all of which make it difficult for them to eat, and parents are faced with a massive problem.
This is when it is helpful to have some nutritional liquids on hand that you can give your child to drink to help them fight the cancer and maintain their weight and energy levels.
We have published many recipes for Smoothies and other Healthy Drinks, so today we are going to bring you something a bit different ~ in the form of recipes for Homemade Almond Milk, a Cleansing Booster Beet Juice, Enoch’s famous Kick’um Juice and an Immunity Boosting Carrot, Orange, Lemon & Ginger Juice
It is important to eat small meals more often while undergoing conventional cancer treatments such as Surgery, Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy.
For those who are suffering side-effects such as dysphasia, sore mouths or nausea, consuming a nutrient dense smoothie for one meal and then trying some sun-dried fruits (without sugar) and untoasted nuts as a snack a few hours later is a good idea.
A lunch with salad greens, bitter herbs, apple slices, berries and a dressing made with lemon and olive oil, a pinch of cayenne pepper and avocado makes an exceptionally nutrient-dense meal.
This type of Ayurvedic diet plan will increase your sense of taste, smell, and appetite and help one heal and feel good.
Following on yesterday’s post Herbal Essential Oils Proven to Kill Cancer Cells and last week’s post, High Dose Vitamin C to Improve Cancer Treatment Outcomes Passes Human Safety Trial, today we are sharing some great smoothie recipes using citrus essential oils.
Smoothies are always good for Children with Cancer as it is one way that they can get the required nutrition, especially when suffering from sore mouths or are struggling to swallow as a result of their cancer treatments.
Many essential oils can also be used in recipes in place of the fruit, seed, or plant the essential oil is derived from, and citrus essential oils such as lemon, orange, lime, and grapefruit can be delicious substitutes for the juice and/or zest called for in a recipe.
Having essential oils on hand is always a good idea as they contain loads of goodness in a small bottle and one only needs to use a tiny bit at a time – 1 drop of citrus essential oil can generally substitute for 1 teaspoon of zest or 2 tablespoons of juice. If your recipe calls for the zest of the entire fruit, this works out to between 7-15 drops of its essential oil counterpart. Read the rest of this entry
As we all know, eating while dealing with the ravages of Childhood Cancer and the side-effects of Childhood Cancer Treatments can be challenging, but at the same time, it is vital that anyone with cancer eat nutritious meals and snacks in order to build up their immune system to fight the cancer and stay strong.
It is not always easy to get someone with cancer to eat though, due to mouth sores, weakness, nausea, and the fact that treatments sometimes leave a metallic taste in the mouth or just make food taste different.
Today we bring you some recipes found on a Pancreatic Cancer website that were devised by professional chefs and nutritionists for those with pancreatic cancer because of their extreme challenges in a patient’s diet and nutritional needs due to their digestive issues. While these recipes were devised for pancreatic cancer patients, they will be just a nutritious and beneficial to any cancer patient.
We all basically know that we need nutrients to keep us healthy, but what exactly are nutrients and where do we find them? It is no good knowing what we need if we do not know where to find it, and vitamin and mineral supplements just do not do the trick; we need natural nutrients for health and cancer protection.
Children with Cancer, especially, need as many nutrients as possible to help fight the cancer as well as the side-effects from cancer treatments such as Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy.
According to research by the American Institute for Cancer Research, getting our nutrients from foods will give one a powerful mix of health-promoting substances.
Doctors have yet to find a definitive link between cancer and food. What they have found, however, is a correlation between certain diets — such as the Mediterranean Diet — and the potential for cancer reduction. Doctors call these diets (often specific to a culture or geographical region) anti-angiogenic, which means that they cut off the blood supply of cancerous tumours, starving them of the nutrients they need to grow.
An easy way to ensure that your Child with Cancer gets sufficient vitamins and nutrition when they find it difficult to eat due to cancer treatments is to make them some delicious cancer-beating smoothies to drink using fruit and veg that have cancer-fighting properties in them
Smoothies have gotten a bad rap in the past for being sugar-laden and more closely resembling dessert than anything remotely healthy, but while that might be true for smoothies purchased at juice shops or in restaurants, you can make healthy smoothie recipes right at home for a fraction of the price in just minutes.
Hi Folks, it is Foodie Friday again, and following on yesterday’s post regarding ensuring that your Child with Cancer gets sufficient calories and proteins in their diet to help them fight their cancer and continue to develop and grow naturally at the same time, here are some great drinks recipes.
For parents of Children with Cancer, the challenges of enticing children to eat nutritious, healthy foods are even greater than those faced by parents of healthy children, and require untold levels of patience and creativity to overcome.
Cancer and cancer treatments can also affect the way your child’s body tolerates certain foods and its ability to process, store and appropriately use nutrients at a time when your child’s body needs the energy and nutrients from a healthy diet more than ever.
Some Children with Cancer also find it difficult to eat or swallow as a result of the cancer treatments, son one of the best methods of getting them in ingest nutrition is via smoothies and other healthy drinks.
Following up on our Nutrition in Paediatric Cancer post yesterday, here is a bit more about holistic nutritionist, Danielle Cook Navidi’s program and another yummy recipe from her.
Navidi’s 11-year-old son, Fabien Navidi-Kasmai, was diagnosed with Stage III Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and the only nutrition advice she received was, “Let him eat McDonald’s. He needs the calories.”
She was appalled, and as a mother and an avid cook with a love of farmers markets and a background in catering, she decided to do something about it. She was convinced fast food was not the answer, so “went back to basics” and…
Navidi began volunteering at MedStar Georgetown in 2008. “I pretty much just asked, ‘Can I take a little spot and make smoothies?’ She would do prep at home, pre-cooking anything that required a stove or oven, and showed up at the hospital with bags of groceries.
Aziza Shad, chief of MedStar Georgetown’s pediatric hematology-oncology program helped find grant money to fund Danielle Cook Navidi’s program and encouraged Navidi to compile her recipes into a book.
Eating a balanced, nutritional diet is very important for good health, especially for Children with Cancer, as they need the correct kind of nutrition to make help their compromised immune systems fight the cancer and other infections.
Children with cancer need protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, vitamins, and minerals.
This is not always easy, however, as individuals with cancer often lose their taste for various foods due to the cancer treatments, and some treatments make one feel nauseous or make everything taste metallic.
It is also often difficult for parents who are struggling financially to try to find something that their child can actually stomach eating – sometimes they can only keep down something like cheesenax, and the parent, just grateful that they are at least eating something, will ply them with this snack – it is not nutritional however, so one needs to try other things.
Symptom Management, Palliative Care, or Supportive Care to relieve side-effects is an important part of cancer care and treatment and should always form part of the overall treatment plan.
A poor appetite or even loss of appetite is common with cancer and cancer treatment, and children with cancer may not feel hungry at all, eat less than usual, or feel full after eating only a little bit of food.
Ongoing appetite problems may result in your child losing weight, not getting the nutrients from food that his or her body needs, and loss of muscle mass and strength, all of which are serious complications. The combination of weight loss and muscle mass loss is called cachexia, or wasting.
Loss of appetite in a child has many causes:
- Advanced cancer
- Ascites, an accumulation of serous fluid in peritoneal cavity in the abdomen, may create a feeling of fullness even after eating only a tiny amount of food
- Medications, including chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and sedatives that cause feelings of calmness or sleepiness
- Radiation treatment or surgery to any part of the gastrointestinal organs, such as the stomach or intestines
- Some cancers may cause the spleen to become enlarged. When a spleen grows in size, it can push on the stomach, creating a feeling of fullness.
- Some types of cancer, including ovarian, pancreatic, and stomach cancers, may cause loss of appetite, by affecting a person’s metabolism, which is the process of the body breaking down food and turning it into energy.
Other side effects of cancer treatment, such as:
- Changes in taste and smell
- Difficulty chewing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Dry mouth
- Infections in the mouth
- Mouth sores and mouth pain
- Nausea and vomiting
The first step in treating appetite loss is to address the underlying cause where possible, such as when the lack of appetite is due to mouth sores, dry mouth, pain, or depression – treatment for these conditions could help improve your child’s appetite.
Treatments for appetite loss and associated weight loss may include medications that increase appetite and medications that help move food through the intestine, including:
- Megestrol acetate (Megace) or medroxyprogesterone – forms of the progesterone hormone that can improve appetite and weight gain.
- Steroid medications may increase your child’s appetite, improve their sense of well-being, and help with nausea, weakness, or pain. Due to steroids having serious side effects, they should only be used for a short time and under strict medical care.
- Metoclopramide can prevent feeling full before eating enough food.
- Dronabinol (Marinol), a cannabinoid made in the laboratory, may stimulate appetite.
Nutritional supplement drinks, medications that help food move through the intestine, and tube feeding (the use of a tube that passes through the nose into the stomach), can also be helpful when your child has no appetite or cannot eat.
Getting good nutrition and keeping a healthy weight are important parts of your child’s recovery and can help them cope better both physically and emotionally with the effects of cancer and cancer treatment.
Tips for proper nutrition when your child’s appetite is poor:
- Feed your child 5 or 6 small meals a day instead of 3 large ones, and leave their favourite snacks foods nearby for them to pick on whenever they are hungry.
- Determine which times of day they seem hungry, and make sure they eat at those times, and do not limit how much they eat.
- Give them nutritious snacks that are high in calories and protein, such as dried fruits, nuts, yoghurt, cheese, eggs, milkshakes, ice cream, cereal, pudding, and granola bars.
- Add calories and protein to various foods by adding cream, cheese, gravy, peanut butter, and nuts.
- Give your child fluids between meals rather than with meals as drinking during a meal may make you them feel full too quickly.
- Give your child nutritious or filling drinks, such as milk, nutritional milkshakes or smoothies.
- If the smell or taste of food makes your child nauseous, rather let them try to eat food that is cold or at room temperature – this will decrease its odour and reduce its taste.
- If your child says they are having trouble tasting the food, try adding spices and condiments to make them more appealing.
- If your child has changes in taste, such as a metallic taste in their mouth, letting them suck on hard candy like mints or lemon drops before eating a meal can be helpful.
- Ask your doctor about ways to relieve gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and constipation or if your child is having any difficulty with managing pain.
- Try light exercise, such as going for a 20-minute walk with your child about an hour before meals to stimulate their appetite. Consult your child’s health care team before starting any exercise program. Exercise also helps maintain muscle mass.
- Find and meet with a registered dietitian for additional advice on meal planning.
It is vital that Children with Cancer, including Children with Brain Cancer, eat well-balanced, nutritional meals and snacks in order to maintain their weight, rebuild any tissue lost in treatment, and strengthen their immune system and power it to fight against the brain cancer.
The occurrence of malnutrition in children with childhood tumours is multifactorial and develops during therapy for cancer in 40-80% of children. Malnutrition is more commonly seen in patients with advanced neuroblastoma, Wilms tumour, Ewing sarcoma and advanced lymphomas.
Malnutrition is usually more severe with aggressive tumours in the later stages of malignancy. Children who have a poor nutritional status have lower survival rates compared to those with a good nutritional status.
The majority of childhood cancers are treated by combined modality therapy, including surgery, radiotherapy, and antineoplastic schedules commonly providing a variety of side effects, which may lead a child into a state of nutritional deprivation.
Each of these treatment modalities may produce injuries to major organ systems (liver and pancreas), and a combination of therapies could result in a synergism of adverse effects.
Multimodality therapies combined with the effects of the tumour itself affect nutritional status and damage rapidly growing cells, e.g., in the gastrointestinal tract, causing serious and undesirable symptoms. Read the rest of this entry
Malnutrition at the diagnosis of cancer is not an uncommon finding in the developing world.
Nutrition is very important for Children with Cancer, because the presence of the tumour as well as the treatments that they undergo play havoc with their immune systems as well as various other systems in their little bodies.
Malnutrition describes the consequences of insufficient protein-energy intake. Malnutrition is an unspecific term used to define an inadequate nutritional condition. It is characterized by either a deficiency or an excess of energy with measurable adverse effects on clinical outcome. Malnutrition describes the consequences of insufficient protein-energy intake. An adequate protein-energy balance is a prerequisite for age-appropriate growth and maintenance.