Staying Healthy During Chemotherapy

Fall is almost here, and the year has flown by. We hope that you and your loved ones are healthy, doing well, and are excited for the coming seasons. In this newsletter, we will be sharing with you the latest news on the link between nutrition and cancer treatment and the things you should avoid if you’re currently undergoing treatment. 

Optimal Frequency of Individualized Nutrition Counseling in Patients with Head and Neck Cancer Receiving Radiotherapy

One study in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics took a close look at the optimal frequency of individual nutritional counseling for patients with head and neck cancers before, during and after treatment. They examined a complete range of factors, including:
  • Weight changes
  • Dietary intake
  • Nutritional status
  • Treatment interruptions
  • Unplanned hospital admissions
  • Quality of life
  • Morbidity
  • Complications
The study found that individual nutrition counseling during treatment every week and every few weeks after treatment were most beneficial. Nutrition is a key part of the treatment and recovery process, and without working with a nutritionist it can be more challenging to ensure that you are getting the right combination of nutrients.  
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What Precautions Should You Take During Chemotherapy Treatment?

Chemotherapy is a common treatment for cancer patients, but in order to get the most out of it, you need to make sure that you take the right precautions. While chemotherapy aims to stop the growth of cancer cells, it can also target healthy cells that divide quickly in the process. What things should you avoid during chemotherapy?
  1. Contact with any bodily fluids after your treatment, as your body breaks down and passes the drugs used during chemotherapy in the 48-72 hours following your treatment
  2. Stressing yourself out or overextending yourself, as trying to do too much during chemotherapy treatment can lead to poorer treatment outcomes and cause unnecessary harm
  3. Infections, as chemotherapy can weaken your immune system and make it more challenging to stay healthy
  4. Eating meals that are very large, as this can sometimes worsen the nausea that is a side effect of cancer treatment
  5. Consuming foods that are raw or undercooked, as these also increase the risk of nausea or an infection
  6. Drinking alcohol frequently or in large amounts
  7. Smoking
  8.  And more!
To see the complete list, read the article below. 
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The Role of a Laryngologist for the Head and Neck Cancer Patient

Vaninder K. Dhillon MD FACS, a Johns Hopkins Otolaryngology, shares the role a Laryngologist plays for a Head and Neck Cancer Patient in this article below. If you have found yourself asking questions like "What is the role of a Laryngologist for a head and neck cancer patient?" or "What about a Speech Language Pathologist?" or "What happens if you combine the two into one appointment?" we suggest you contuine reading!

Many head and neck cancer patients may be familiar with a Speech Language Pathologist during their course of rehabilitation from surgery, radiation treatment, or both. A Speech Language Pathologist is essential and important in the conversation, treatment planning and rehabilitation of almost all head and neck cancer patients.
This is because the crucial functions of speech and swallow are tied to the organ that has been changed by the cancer. The Speech Language Pathologist is part of the head and neck cancer team, and is a player in helping a head and neck cancer patient regain function and improve quality of life.
A Laryngologist on the other hand is more elusive. Unless you’ve met or been introduced to a Laryngologist, the primary surgical team member for most head and neck cancer patients is their head and neck surgeon. Or the oncologist. A Laryngologist is a sub specialist within the field of Otolaryngology (Head and Neck Surgery) whose primary expertise is in the larynx or the voice box.
This includes in the functions of voice, swallow and breathing. They too are surgeons and oncologists, and may be involved in the primary diagnosis of a cancer, but more often than not, involved in the rehabilitation and follow up when the daily functions of speech, swallowing and breathing are affected. The expertise of these physicians in evaluating and visualizing the head and neck, including with a small camera which enables visualization to the back of the throat (larynx and pharynx), provides more information for the patient. Ultimately this improves counseling for you.

As a patient, it is important to ask about your rehabilitation plan as much as it is for your treatment plan, when you’re going through a head and neck cancer diagnosis. Within that plan, ask about who the local Laryngologist and Speech Language Pathologist are. Sometimes you may be able to meet with them during the initial consultations with your oncology team, and at least know who your follow up team will be.

Help Us Help Head and Neck Cancer Patients

911 4 HNC relies on your kind donations to help head and neck cancer patients receive the treatment that they need to survive and thrive. If you found the research and information in this newsletter to be useful and want to help us reach even more patients and families, please consider making a donation or purchasing some of our merchandise. Don’t forget to follow our updates on Facebook to keep up with the latest HNC news.
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