Lifespan Cancer Institute

Nutrition Services at the Lifespan Cancer Institute

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, you want to be aware of every option that can aid your recovery. Cancer treatment is a comprehensive practice and the expertise of a registered dietitian can be an important part of your overall care.

The primary goals of dietitians at the Lifespan Cancer Institute are to manage cancer symptoms, ensure overall comfort, and maximize patient well-being. Proper nutrition has been proven to be a significant factor in successful cancer treatment by minimizing side effects and improving tolerance of therapies, like chemotherapy. Dietitians can help you to enhance your immune system, prevent nutrient deficiencies, preserve body mass, maintain energy and strength, aid in your recovery and healing and help prevent cancer recurrence. The services of a dietitian can be especially helpful for high-risk patients with gastrointestinal, lung, or head and neck cancer, or patients with feeding tubes.

These goals can be reached in a number of ways and our dietitians will work with you to create a personalized plan that best fits your specific cancer area, symptoms and lifestyle.

How We Can Help

Our dietitians can:

  • Aid in the modification of eating habits to ensure that your nutrition complements your specific cancer, stage of cancer, type of treatment, feeding method and effects of therapy.
  • Ensure the minimization of the effects of nutrition-related side effects and complications of cancer treatment.
  • Draft nutrition plans that take into account a patient's co-morbid, or pre-existing, conditions. For example, a patient with pre-existing diabetes undergoing cancer treatment should have a specialized nutrition plan that considers both conditions.
  • Offer suggestions that will make eating more comfortable based on your specific diagnosis. For example, patients with lung cancer often have difficulty eating due to esophageal burning. Our dietitians can help alleviate the discomfort by suggesting certain foods to eat. If a feeding tube is necessary, our dietitians can coordinate your feeding plan and schedule for you.
  • Educate patients about the preparation of meals. Adequate nutrition has an impact on cancer symptoms. But, often, cancer patients experience fatigue, nausea and loss of appetite, making eating difficult. Our dietitians can help make mealtimes easier with preparation, scheduling and food choice tips.
  • Offer advice on the safety and appropriateness of supplements and antioxidants. Our dietitians are educated in the ways in which certain supplements may interfere with treatments like radiation therapy.
  • Decrease the likelihood of involuntary weight loss or vitamin and protein depletion with appropriate nutrient-dense foods, shakes, and supplements (if needed).

If you are undergoing treatment at the Lifespan Cancer Institute, you may automatically be referred to a dietitian. If you do not receive a referral, ask your physician if you might benefit from nutrition services. For more information, please call 1-844-222-2881.

Meet the Nutrition Services Team

Mary Flynn, PhD, RD, LDN Headshot

Mary Flynn, PhD, RD, LDN

Karen Pasquazzi, RD, CSO, LDN Headshot

Karen Pasquazzi, RD, CSO, LDN