We all know good nutrition is important for good health. We also know to make adjustments in our diet when we are sick, such as good old fashioned chicken soup. Cancer and the treatments used to fight it create challenges to good nutrition. Chemo can cause mouth sores, changes in taste, nausea or diarrhea. Radiation can also cause these same problems depending on the area treated. Thus cancer patients, more than most, need adjustments to their diet or eating habits to maintain the strength necessary to get through treatment. Eating well is important before, during and after treatment to feel better and regain strength. Therefore, a good cancer treatment plan needs the help of a good nutritional expert.
In an effort to assist our patients with the challenges to good nutrition that cancer treatment can affect, we began a program last year called “Ask a Dietician,” This casual, open forum is facilitated by a registered and experienced dietitian. In an informal setting cancer patients and/or their caregivers can pose questions and get immediate answers to common or familiar issues. More difficult issues may need research and a later response.
Currently, our program is led by Alison Licquia MS, RDN, CD. Alison is a Nutrition Support Dietitian here in the greater Tri-Cities area with over a decade of experience in the field of nutrition support. She works primarily with patients both young and old, with a wide variety of diseases and conditions, who require nutrition through an IV or feeding tube. She loves every chance she gets to support the community through the “Ask a Dietician” program at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center.
“It’s such a rewarding opportunity. I get to sit face to face with these strong and determined individuals, to provide support and encouragement along their journey to remission. I am truly inspired by everyone I meet through this program.” – Alison
Serving cancer patients in a volunteer role, Alison comes to the monthly event with tips and tricks learned over the years and recipes or handouts on a variety of subjects. Those coming for advice or knowledge often have the same issues as others in the room even though their conditions are unrelated. In those moments participants find they are part of a larger community; a community of people determined to get through the cancer experience feeling better and gaining strength.
Our Ask a Dietitian program occurs on the first Tuesday of every month at 4:00 PM. Reservations are not needed. Alison will have a feature topic each month but leave plenty of time for the open forum question and answers. In addition, Alison has agreed to share her knowledge in a monthly newsletter column. You may pose a question on diet and nutrition for the cancer patient and potentially see your answer in our newsletter. We will publish as many responses as space allows. Send your questions to Joan Stewart, Community Education via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.