CancerCare Coping Kit

CANSA’s Top Dietary Tips for Survivors

Afrikaanse Persvrystelling

26 July 2018: In August, the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) highlights its service offering to cancer patients, caregivers and loved ones, in particular regarding coping with a diagnosis as well as managing side effects of cancer treatment, whether physical, or psychological. #CANSACares

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An important aspect of this includes providing patients with dietary guidelines and advice before, during and after treatment.

CANSA gives some top tips for dealing with common side effects related to nutrition – view infographics, as well as nutritious, affordable recipes for patients undergoing treatment. Further dietary tips about coping with constipation, nausea, diarrhoea and loss of appetite are available from staff at CANSA Care Centres, however, CANSA also recommends that Survivors speak to a healthcare professional for individualised advice.

Gerda Strauss, CANSA’s Head: Service Delivery explains why this is such an important part of supporting patients, “We recognise that it’s particularly unsettling for cancer Survivors (patients) undergoing treatment, that side effects of treatment or the disease itself can lead to eating and drinking being unpleasant. Aside from the challenge of maintaining adequate nutritional intake, there are also psycho-social knock-on effects. For example, Survivors, depending on which side effects they are experiencing, may prefer not to eat with others, or be fearful of eating, because of a side effect they may experience.”

Cancer treatment kills off cancer cells, but unfortunately, healthy cells may be damaged in the process resulting in various side effects, that may differ from one person to another. Side effects of treatment (such as a sore mouth or throat, dry mouth, dental or gum deterioration, change in taste or smell of food, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea or constipation) can lead to avoidance of meals or difficulty in taking in enough food and fluids. This in turn may lead to malnutrition and negatively affect the patient’s health further.

Megan Pentz-Kluyts, CANSA’s consulting Registered Dietician elaborates, “It’s important for Survivors undergoing treatment to consume a variety of foods in order for their bodies to take in sufficient nutrients to fight cancer. Good nutrition leads to increased strength and energy, lowers risk for infection and helps patients maintain an appropriate weight. An added complication is that cancer treatment may affect the manner in which the body tolerates food and makes use of nutrients, which may also vary during and after treatment. For this reason we recommend that if possible, Survivors consult with a registered dietician if they are experiencing problems related to diet.”

Patients, caregivers and loved ones in need of support and guidance can find the services provided by their local CANSA Care Centre on the CANSA website, by clicking on their Care Centre for details.

For more information, please contact Lucy Balona, Head: Marketing and Communication at CANSA at email lbalona@cansa.org.za or call 011-616 7662 ,or mobile 082 459 5230.

About CANSA

CANSA offers a unique integrated service to the public and to all people affected by cancer. CANSA is a leading role-player in cancer research (more than R12 million spent annually) and the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to realign our health programmes, as well as strengthen our watchdog role to the greater benefit of the public.

Our health programmes comprise health and education campaigns; CANSA Care Centres that offer a wide range of care and support services to those affected by cancer; stoma and other clinical support and organisational management; medical equipment hire, as well as a toll-free line to offer information and support.

We also supply patient care and support in the form of 11 CANSA Care Homes in the main metropolitan areas for out-of-town cancer patients; a Wellness Centre based in Polokwane; and CANSA-TLC lodging for parents and guardians of children undergoing cancer treatment.

Queries CANSA

Visit www.cansa.org.za,or contact CANSA toll-free on 0800 22 66 22 or email info@cansa.org.za – follow CANSA on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram. CANSA offers multi-lingual support on WhatsApp: 0721979305 for English and Afrikaans, and 0718673530 for Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho and Siswati.


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