Nutrition and Dietetics

Good nutrition is very important for all cancer patients, and help from a dietitian specialising in cancer nutrition can provide you with the right advice at the right time.

Peter Mac has a team of dietitians and nutrition assistants who provide assistance to patients on the wards, in specialist clinics and in the chemotherapy day unit at the Melbourne site. Dietitians also attend outpatient clinics at Peter Mac’s Moorabbin and Box Hill sites on specified days. Nutrition assistants conduct malnutrition screening and help to ensure all patients receive the most appropriate nutrition care. Nutrition at Peter Mac’s Sunshine and Bendigo satellites is managed by Western Health and Bendigo Health, respectively.

Dietitians can assess and manage your nutritional needs before, during, and after you have completed treatment for cancer.

How a dietitian can help you

Dietitians can assess and assist you to manage your nutritional needs before, during and after you have completed treatment. They will provide appropriate nutrition advice to help manage treatment side effects that impact on your ability to eat, improve your quality of life and optimise your ability to cope with your treatment.

Dietitians will provide you with all the advice you need about what food and drink will help you improve or maintain your energy levels and strength, and help you continue to enjoy your food. Peter Mac’s dietitians work in specialties primarily defined by the type of cancer you have, or the special support you require, such as the PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) clinic. This ensures you receive specialist dietary advice by a dietitian with expertise in the type of cancer and condition you have. They also manage and monitor a large number of patients who require tube feeding while living at home, as part of the Home Enteral Nutrition (HEN) program.

Dietitians work closely with food services at Peter Mac to develop meal plans that are tailored to your preferences and nutritional requirements. Peter Mac is highly committed to providing appetising, high-quality and nutritionally balanced meals that meet your clinical and cultural needs.

Referral information

If you stay more than one night at Peter Mac, you will be seen by the nutrition assistant for malnutrition screening and referred to the dietitian if needed. If you are attending the chemotherapy day unit, your nurse will ask you some nutrition questions when you first arrive and may then refer you to a nutrition assistant or dietitian if needed.

If a member of your treating team thinks you would benefit from seeing a dietitian, they will provide the necessary referrals for you. You can also speak to a member of your treating team if you think you need to see a dietitian and they can provide a referral for you.

Some treatments are highly likely to impact on your ability to eat and drink (this may be chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery). If you are receiving one of these treatments, an appointment to see a dietitian will automatically be scheduled for you. These appointments are an important part of your care and will ensure you are provided with the right nutrition advice as early in your treatment as possible.

Service times

The nutrition department operates from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday.

An on-call dietitian service is available on weekends and public holidays from 8:30am to 5pm.


Nutrition and Dietetics

Phone: 03 8559 5220

Fax: 03 8559 5251

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