I have previously posted on this topic here and here. Usually I feel like I am "ranting" but here I feel like I am cheering. If your cancer center does not yet have a Registered Dietitian (or two or three!) as a member of the professional team of health care providers, feel free to copy these articles and take them into your oncologist and cancer center administrator and ask "why not?" and keep asking and keep asking.
The first article called out the belief that malnutrition is an expected outcome of cancer treatments as "outdated". The author could not have written a more accurate statement. I might not have been so polite - oh yes I would in that forum - but the reality is that maintaining adequate nutritional status during cancer treatments is critical to optimizing the best outcome from those treatments. AND it has been well-demonstrated that late intervention (the "crash and burn" scenario that the author describes) that I have mentioned in past posts is simply "too little, too late" and sad to say, usually wasted time, expertise, expense, and hope.
Nutritional screening should be incorporated into regular screening for all patients at every new visit to the outpatient cancer center, just as other "vital signs" are always assessed pro-actively and individually. These two articles give numerous examples of why and how this can be done.
Again, I urge you to print them out to give to your oncologist. In addition, do some "sleuthing" around your cancer center and find out who is (or will be) your cancer center's "nutrition champion" and give the articles to that person, too. Just as good nutrition does not happen by accident for any one person even without a cancer diagnosis, having a cancer center incorporate appropriate and optimal nutrition services for each and every patient will not happen by accident or default either (and certainly not at an optimal level), especially with the current standard being that an RD only has to be "available" to work with patients and their families.
Step, step, step! These two articles are BIG steps. Thanks to Rhone Levin, MEd, RD, CSO, LD and Shari Oakland, RD for sharing your expertise, hard work, and passion for and commitment to nutritional oncology.
"Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row"
Diana Dyer, MS, RD