According to the American Cancer Society, eating the right foods before, during and after cancer treatment can help patients feel better and stay stronger.
“During treatment, good nutrition has shown to improve tolerance to treatment and the related side effects,” said Jordan Teeple, M.S., R.D., L.D. “Good nutrition also can lower the risk of infection and help speed recovery.”
Teeple, who is part of the care team at Lake Regional Cancer Center in Osage Beach, said protein and calorie intake are crucial during treatment.
“Cancer treatment can increase the body’s calorie and protein needs, but many cancer patients find eating difficult because of side effects of treatment, medication or physical limitations,” Teeple said. “My focus is finding ways for them to get the nutrients their body needs any way we can to preserve muscle and maintain weight.”
Teeple meets with every patient undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, including those with one of the most common types of cancer – lung cancer. According to the ACS, an estimated 228,190 Americans were diagnosed this year.
Steve Beatty, who has squamous cell carcinoma of the neck, knows the importance of good nutrition during treatment.
First diagnosed in 2010, Beatty underwent multiple surgeries on his throat and neck. He dropped a considerable amount of weight and was placed on a feeding tube, like many patients with cancer of the throat and neck.
“I never expected it,” Beatty said. “I was the first in my family to get cancer.”
Fortunately, Teeple was able to help.
“I met Jordan mid-treatment and thought, ‘oh great, someone else to try to tell me what to eat and how to do things,’” Beatty said. “She blew me away. She really knows what she’s doing, and I try very hard to do what she tells me.”
Since taking the nutritional advice of Teeple, Beatty has gained nearly 30 pounds and eats without a feeding tube.
“She checks on me when I’m here every week to make sure I haven’t lost any weight,” he said. “I can’t always eat what she tells me because I physically can’t. Eating is an extreme struggle. But, she was able to find me supplements and tells me what types of foods to eat.”
It’s a similar story for Susan Ficken, who also has squamous cell carcinoma. Currently on a feeding tube and nearly finished with her five-day a week radiation cycle and monthly chemotherapy, Ficken takes Teeple’s advice to heart.
Page 2 of 2 - “I can’t tell you the last time I ate real food,” she said. “I struggle to get enough to eat. My medications either made me feel full or just sick. Jordan was able to get the food I needed delivered to my house and makes sure I have all my protein powders.”
Ficken credits good nutrition and the cooperation of Teeple to her timely treatment.
“My recovery wouldn’t have been as good as it has been without Jordan and the good nutritional advice she gave me,” Ficken said. “I wouldn’t have known what to do.”