For sufferers dealing with a most cancers battle, help is essential. Whereas top-tier medical care is of the utmost significance, there are numerous elements of an individual’s wellbeing which additionally should be addressed.
It’s one thing that Caitlin Benda, MBA, MS, RD, CSO, LDN understands properly. As a registered dietitian and Board-certified specialist in oncology diet, she is aware of that offering dietary steerage can also be key.
“Vitamin can have a huge effect in all areas of our lives, however for people dealing with a most cancers analysis, it turns into much more essential,” she stated.
It’s Benda’s mission to assist her sufferers higher perceive the position diet performs within the remedy of most cancers and the way it can in the end impression well-being and the success of remedy. To do this, she works with the American Oncology Community, providing diet visits for sufferers seen in neighborhood oncology practices all through Georgia and Maryland.
Regionally, Benda groups up with Dr. Antonio Moran at Georgia Oncology and Hematology Consultants in Brunswick to supply free dietary steerage to sufferers at varied factors on their most cancers journey. Many people come right into a most cancers analysis already experiencing diet deficits, whereas others develop challenges with consuming, ingesting, or sustaining weight throughout remedy. Others have basic questions on diet and most cancers or could also be seeking to enhance their well being to assist lower threat of recurrence.
Whereas diet performs an necessary position all through the most cancers journey, Benda is fast to level out that present analysis doesn’t help a cause-and-effect relationship between diet and most cancers.
“As I at all times say, most cancers is a 1,000-piece puzzle. We all know that weight loss plan, diet, and bodily exercise play a task within the threat for growing a number of forms of most cancers, but it surely’s certainly one of many various threat elements, although one which’s thought of to be modifiable, so it’s extra below our management than some others”, she stated.
She went on to emphasise the significance of sustaining dietary standing throughout most cancers therapies.
“It’s widespread for individuals to assume ‘properly, I’ve weight to lose,’ however any unintentional weight reduction is undesirable as it could signify underlying adjustments in physique composition and lack of lean physique mass. Even a small quantity of unintentional weight reduction can result in a decreased tolerance to remedy or unplanned breaks or adjustments within the remedy routine, in the end impacting the efficacy and outcomes of the prescribed therapies. So, we’re actually encouraging individuals to deal with sustaining their weight throughout remedy and to deal with wholesome, intentional weight reduction if acceptable after remedy has ended.”
When somebody is shedding pounds or is unable to adequately gasoline their physique, malnutrition can also be an actual chance, and a regarding one at that. Malnutrition, Benda stated, is related to damaging remedy outcomes and is due to this fact one thing that’s key to forestall or to attempt to deal with throughout remedy.
“It’s actually necessary for us to have the ability to meet our calorie and protein wants, which are sometimes elevated throughout most cancers therapies. Provided that urge for food loss and boundaries to consuming or ingesting are widespread whereas going by way of most cancers therapies, we regularly must be inventive in how we work with sufferers to try this,” she stated. “Remedy associated unwanted side effects are normally fast to happen and alter incessantly all through remedy, and folks don’t at all times know what to eat to keep away from exacerbating the unwanted side effects or to assist them really feel their greatest. Finally, this can lead to decreased consumption, resulting in unintentional weight reduction, lack of lean physique mass, and malnutrition.”
For all of these causes, Benda feels that it’s necessary to have a dietary ally. She and her staff of 5 dietitians join by way of a wide range of mediums to supply that help to sufferers throughout the nation.
“I do work very intently with Dr. Moran and his staff. They immediately refer sufferers to me for a wide range of causes, and regardless that I’m not bodily positioned within the workplace, I’m in frequent communication with the staff so hardly ever miss a beat,” she stated.
“I’m able to join with sufferers remotely by way of a safe telehealth platform or over the cellphone, relying on a person’s choice. I additionally routinely share handouts and different assets with sufferers and am obtainable for comply with up as desired by the affected person. All of it relies on what they want.”
Benda understands that these wants might be very completely different from one affected person to the following. That’s why she affords individualized diet care plans and proposals that enable sufferers to regain a way of management amidst what could be a tough and chaotic interval.
“We actually need to have the ability to provide every affected person what they should be profitable. I routinely inform sufferers that my job is to offer them with the instruments that I feel they might want, and it’s their job to take these instruments and see how they are going to work for them,” she stated.
Benda is grateful for the chance to share her huge set of instruments with sufferers and is very glad that her companies can be found freed from cost.
“Most cancers isn’t an inexpensive illness to deal with, so to have the ability to present help to sufferers at no further value is so necessary to me,” she stated.
For sufferers of Dr. Moran, connecting with Benda is easy. Her contact data is out there on the Brunswick workplace and Moran’s staff additionally affords referrals for his or her sufferers to make the most of the dietary program.
Via this collaboration each Moran and Benda hope to supply sufferers one other layer of help in addition to a pathway to therapeutic.