Nutrition Services for Cancer Patients
Diet is an important part of treatment and recovery for many oncology and hematology patients.
Our Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders (CCBD) has two full-time registered dietitians (RDs) on staff, able to provide customized nutrition services for patients of all ages. They have extensive experience caring for children overcoming illness during their formative years, as well as helping families set and reach nutritional goals specific to hematology and oncology. We work with patients and families one-on-one to develop nutrition plans that meet individual medical and cultural needs.
We prioritize the healthy growth of the children we work with through nutrition that properly addresses their many different disease states and conditions. We also do our very best to guide each of their family members toward healthy eating and good nutrition. We hope our work not only provides support during treatment, but also sets up our patients for healthy living beyond treatment.
CCBD patients will be assigned one of our inpatient registered dietitians. Here are some things to expect when meeting with them for the first time:
- A comprehensive nutrition assessment (including growth assessment, diet history and likes/dislikes of your child)
- Child/family education on food safety and possible special diets (depending on diagnosis/treatment)
- Introduction to possible nutrition support interventions during treatment such as tube feedings or parenteral (for example, IV) nutrition
- Introduction of possible nutritional supplements that may be used to optimize oral intake and avoid unwanted weight loss and malnutrition during treatment
- Discussion of proper use of complementary and alternative medicines
- Contact information for both RDs
After initially meeting your assigned registered dietitian, they will be an integral part of your healthcare team, assessing and monitoring your child’s health and nutritional wellness. Your RD will be available for education, evaluation and implementation of nutritional interventions throughout each hospital stay.
Once your child is out of the Hospital and following up in our ambulatory clinic, Kristen Williams, MS, RD, CNSC, will take over. If your child has not yet been to the Hospital, this is where your initial assessment will begin. Otherwise, this is where continued follow-up will occur. Kristen provides nutrition assessment and counseling to help with a variety of outpatient nutrition issues, including:
- Assessment of nutritional and growth status
- Management of tube feeding and/or parenteral (IV) nutrition
- Education on healthy eating and appropriate exercise
- Education on special diets required by certain disease states
- Support with reintroduction of normal eating during and after cancer treatment
- Support of your family in assessing any complementary or alternative medicines you may want during or after cancer treatment
In general, a low-microbial diet is highly recommended during treatment, especially for patients with the following diagnoses:
- All AML/APL
- Relapsed ALL
- Aplastic Anemia
- Burkitt’s Lymphoma
- High-Risk Neuroblastoma
- Head Start Chemotherapy
- Boston Protocol (ATRT) Chemotherapy
- Brain Tumor
- Philadelphia Chromosome Positive
For all other cancer diagnoses that do not require a low-microbial diet, we recommend you pay special attention to food safety and the list of food-safety diet considerations for the duration of treatment. If you need help sorting out where to find these recommendations and how to implement them, please reach out to your RD.
Seem like a lot to remember? Don’t worry. We’re here to walk you through it. Don’t hesitate to contact us regarding all nutrition services, questions or concerns:
Kristen Williams, MS, RD, CNSC
Phoenix Children’s Hospital
1919 E. Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85016