Diet and nutrition
Several factors may alter the nutritional status of cancer sufferers.
- The disease itself: Some 30% to 50% of cancer patients lose weight due to lost appetite, fatigue, metabolic disorders, or eating difficulties.
- Stress related to the disease.
- Digestive problems related to chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
It is important for a person suffering from cancer to eat properly and sufficiently: malnutrition weakens the body and reduces the effectiveness of treatments.
Aims of the Nutrition Unit
Dieticians help to prevent, correct and improve any nutritional difficulties in each patient during treatment, in both inpatient and outpatient care. Their goal is to reconcile the patient’s quality of life with continued treatment.
As such, they do the following:
- Establish goals with the patient (weight loss or gain, management of digestive issues, pre- or postoperative nutritional advice) adapted to the disease and to treatment.
- Guide the patients in his/her choices, depending on tastes, restrictions and state of health.
- Determine any need for artificial nutrition.
- Provide follow-up for patients at home in conjunction with service providers.
An attending dietician is on duty in all adult and pediatric hospitalization departments at Institut Curie to advise patients and help them adjust their diet to their needs.
Nutritional education as part of the Programme Activ’
Programme Activ’ is a therapeutic nutritional-education program aimed at patients treated for breast cancer at Institut Curie over the past five years. Since 2013, it has offered nutrition workshops (three two-hour workshops), an exercise program and initial and final assessment reports. It enables those enrolled to adopt or continue healthy nutritional habits to maintain or achieve a healthy weight, and improve daily well-being and the effectiveness of treatments.