Saturday, March 7, 2009

Food and Nutrition for the Elderly

Dear Healthcare Lady,

My father has colon cancer and is going through chemotherapy. He does not want to eat and says he is not hungry. What should I do? Janie

Dear Janie,

Colon cancer is a serious disease and you should check with your oncologist (cancer specialist) for recommendations. There are prescription medications available that will increase his appetite. Good nutrition is extremely important for the patient who is undergoing cancer treatment. A balanced diet should include foods from all the food group. Give your father a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Only give him dairy products that include fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. You should give him protein choices that include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. You should try to offer your father foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

If your father continues to have loss of appetite you may need to give him a nutritional drink supplement such as Ensure® or Boost®. To find out more about nutrition for cancer patients check out the resources listed below.

American Cancer Society
Colon Cancer: Nutrition for Cancer Patients
Nutrition and Colon Cancer
Continue to Live Frugally During Your Hospital Stay

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