Issues affecting ability to eat, including swallowing difficulties, and concerns with weight, are very common among cancer survivors. The side effects of cancer treatment can make eating and drinking difficult, and can take away the enjoyment of meal times.
Not eating enough to provide adequate nourishment can lead to low muscle strength, weakened immune system and fatigue. Learning how to manage these symptoms and have a nourishing diet can help people have a better quality of life.
Other people have issues with excess weight gain after cancer treatment. Having a healthy weight in survivorship is important for maintaining overall health and quality of life.
Information for cancer survivors and their families
- Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre: CanEAT Pathway, a guide to optimal cancer nutrition for people with cancer, carers and health professionals; specifically:
- Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Dental Oncology factsheets on xerostomia (dry mouth) and oral mucositis (sore gums)
- Peter Mac and WCMICS ‘How do I do that again?’ videos on administering feeds and medications via a nasogastric (NGT) feeding tube or Gastrostomy (PEG) feeding tube, and how to thicken fluids:
- Cancer Council booklet: Nutrition and cancer
- Cancer Council booklet: Understanding taste and smell changes
- Cancer Council video: Cancer Wellness: Healthy eating and nutrition
- Cancer Council NSW fact sheet: Nutrition and healthy weight fact sheets for cancer survivors
- Head & Neck Cancer Australia – diet and nutrition information and factsheets
- The Victorian Head & Neck Cancer Education and Support Group resources
- American Cancer Society fact sheet: Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Survivors
- EX-MED Cancer program: A Best Practice Exercise Medicine Program for People with Cancer
- Victorian Cancer Malnutrition Collective (VCMC): The Victorian Cancer Malnutrition Collaborative (VCMC) program of work
- American Cancer Society (ACS): Nutrition and physical activity guideline for cancer survivors
- Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA): Cancer-related malnutrition and sarcopenia position statement
- Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA): Cancer-related malnutrition and sarcopenia pathway
- Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC) International Bone Metastases Exercise Working Group: Exercise for people with bone metastases
- European white paper: Oropharyngeal dysphagia in head and neck cancer
- Speech Pathology Australia: Dysphagia Clinical Guideline
- Optimal care pathway for people with head and neck cancer
Additional resources for health professionals
- Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre: CanEAT Pathway, a guide to optimal cancer nutrition for people with cancer, carers and health professionals
- The International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) framework
Supported by the Victoria Government, the CanEAT Pathway is a guide to optimal cancer nutrition for people with cancer, carers and health professionals. It is an evidence-based care pathway to guide and improve the provision of nutritional care of people with cancer, throughout the care continuum, in particular the transition from acute treatment, into recovery and survivorship.
This pathway has been co-designed to help people with cancer, carers and health professionals achieve and deliver optimal nutrition care. It will provide and link you with reliable information, resources and tools and provide some practical tips that will help you along the way.
Principal Investigator: Ms Jenelle Loeliger
For more information, please email [email protected]
If you would like to advise of any relevant projects or provide feedback please email, ACSC.
Clinical services at Peter Mac Parkville
The following services are available to patients of Peter Mac, Parkville. If you are treated elsewhere, please speak with your oncology team, as you may have different clinical service options.
- Nutrition and Dietetic services Dietitians can help to determine effective nutrition interventions and management strategies to manage difficulties with eating and drinking, to improve nutritional intake before, during and after cancer treatment.
- Speech Pathology services The speech pathology team assess and treat a wide range of speech, swallowing and communication difficulties.
- Physiotherapy and Exercise Physiology Services Exercise Physiologists and Physiotherapists address functional decline before, during and after cancer treatment. Exercise Physiology and Physiotherapy are Allied Health services who work closely with each other, as well as with Occupational Therapy.
- Optimisation clinic This multidisciplinary outpatient clinic is for cancer survivors with complex needs and includes a dietitian and physiotherapist.
Other clinical services in the Parkville precinct
Peter Mac is also part of the Parkville precinct (Royal Melbourne Hospital, Royal Women’s Hospital), with services listed separately, above. If you would like to advise of any relevant services or provide feedback please email, ACSC. If you are treated elsewhere, please speak with your oncology team, as you may have different clinical service options.