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Importance of good nutrition for your child during cancer treatment

June 23, 2018

Help your child to eat well during cancer treatment – Apollo CBCC

Importance of good nutrition

Inculcating good eating habits and enticing kids to eat nutritious, healthy foods is an issue with which all parents with young children struggle.  For parents of children with cancer, however, the challenges are even bigger, requiring higher levels of patience and inventiveness to overcome. 

Why is good nutrition so vital, yet so challenging, for kids with cancer? 

The truth is that many forms of childhood cancer, as well as today’s cancer treatments involving chemotherapy and radiation therapy, adversely affect your child’s appetite, capacity to eat, and ability to process and store nutrients properly, making a healthy diet even more hard to keep up at a time when your child’s body needs the energy and nutrients from a healthy diet more than ever.

If your child is undergoing treatment for childhood cancer and is struggling to keep up a nutritious diet, or is losing or putting on significant amounts of weight, we urge you to speak to your child’s oncology team quickly.  They can offer important information about your child’s dietary needs, and may suggest working with a registered dietician who can offer more customized guidance on the best foods for your child, given his or her unique medical conditions.  It is also important to share your experiences with other parents going through, or who have gone through, a similar experience, as they may be able to offer helpful suggestions around making eating easier and more enjoyable for your child during this harrowing time.

Why is eating right so important for kids with cancer?

All kids require more calories per Kg than adults to safeguard proper and healthy growth and development.  The bodies of kids with cancer carry an additional burden, however: they may need even more calories to provide their small bodies with vital energy to battle the cancer and heal damaged tissues.  Helping your child take in adequate calories, alongside much-needed vitamins and minerals, will enable your child’s body remain strong, make your child feel better, and finally give your child’s body the tools it needs to win the battle against cancer.  Particular advantages of a healthy diet include:

  • Greater tolerance for treatment and its negative reactions
  • Enhances healing and recovery times after treatments
  • Boosts immune system to decrease the danger of infections during treatment
  • Helps keep up a healthy weight
  • Encourages and lifts your child’s ability to keep up with normal growth and development
  • Gives your kid more strength and energy
  • Helps your kid feel better overall
  • What can you do to help your child eat better during cancer treatment?

    There is no single answer to this question, because every child is unique, with unique medical circumstances, different sensitivities and cravings, and basically, still a child with specific likes and dislikes, just like every other child! 

  • Recognize the critical elements of a healthy diet and your child’s unique dietary requirements.
  • Be flexible, and don’t feel limited by “traditional” eating practises.
  • Remember that your kid may need foods that are not conventionally considered “healthy”.
  • Don’t be afraid to try different foods, and new tactics.
  • Making eating enjoyable whenever possible.
  • Keep your kid hydrated.
  • Don’t make eating into a battle.
  • Posted in Blog by Apollo CBCC
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