Ask The Cancer Experts: Susan Haines



Here's your chance to Ask the Cancer Experts, of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, a question. Susan Haines tackles the topic of how diet affects cancer treatment. #conquercancer
The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre is one of the Top 5 Cancer Research Centers in the world.
Ian: What sort of research as been done regarding the role of diet in cancer treatment?
We went to Susan Haines, registered dietitian at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, to tell us how a patient's diet impacts treatments.

Haines: Thank you for your question, Ian. I'd like to start by saying nutritional status is important actually before treatment starts. The cancer patient often has malnutrition develop prior to treatments starting.

How many new patients suffer from malnutrition?
Haines: Forty-five percent. So that's almost one in two people entering the hospital having malnutrition from the start.

How is a patient's diet impacted during treatment?
Haines: Simples things, like having meals interrupted by the need to have a test done, or a procedure. Other things like a patient being weak and tired, being unable to access their meal tray, unable to reach it. 

How can this be improved?
Haines: There is plenty of research that shows having a dietitian involved in the nutritional management of a cancer patient is beneficial. 

What is being done at The Princess Margaret?
Haines: This is a new program that we're in the middle of implementing, which is a meal assistance program using volunteers. So when a patient has difficulty opening packages, difficulty accessing their tray, there's a volunteer available to them. We're hoping that it becomes successful and leads to better nourishment for our patients.

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