A cancer diagnosis can turn your life upside down. Facing a serious illness and a long treatment journey can be extremely daunting, so to help make things a little easier for you we will be bringing you a regular ‘coping with cancer’ series. These articles will offer a range of advice and information on various issues from nutrition to finances. We will also provide advice on how best to connect with our relevant support services so you can spend more time focusing on the things you love.
Today, we’re talking nutrition. Cancer itself and cancer treatment place extra demands on your body. Good nutrition will help you to cope better and recover sooner. Research suggests that eating well benefits people during and after treatment. It can help to maintain energy levels, muscle strength and a healthy weight, all of which can improve your quality of life. It can also help to:
• Manage the side effects of treatment and speed up recovery
• Heal wounds and rebuild damaged tissues – this is important after surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy or other treatment
• Improve your body’s immune system and ability to fight infections
• Reduce the risk of cancer coming back
We understand that adjusting your diet can be difficult; to help with this we provide a range of services and resources to help make things a little easier for you.
Our cancer care nurses can provide you with advice, guidelines and facts sheets on the most appropriate diet before, during and after treatment, along with information on how to manage the side effects associated with treatment. Callers assessed as having significant weight loss or more significant nutrition issues by our nurses can be referred on to the dietitians in our Education and Research department for specialist advice free of charge.
Healthy Living after Cancer Program
We also have a Healthy Living after Cancer (HLaC) program which offers free health coaching over the phone with experienced cancer nurses. The program can help you get active, eat better and feel better so you can do more of the things that are important to you. The program is aimed at people who have completed treatment and participants receive up to 12 health coaching calls over a 6 month period from a 13 11 20 Cancer Council nurse. The program is delivered entirely by telephone, allowing participants to access it from anywhere in WA. Find out more here.
We have also put together a table which outlines the primary nutritional needs during each treatment phase.
Find out more by taking a look at our Nutrition and Cancer booklet and our Staying well during and after treatment information page.
You don’t have to face the stresses of cancer alone. Whether you are looking for trustworthy information or simply need someone to listen to your immediate concerns, we can support you, your family and friends.