American Cancer Society Complete Guide to Nutrition for Cancer Survivors

CURE, Spring 2012, Volume 11, Issue 1

American Cancer Society guide focuses on nutrition for survivors.

Eating a healthy diet is a smart idea for everyone, but for cancer patients, good nutrition is vital before, during and after treatment. Intensive therapies, such as chemotherapy and radiation, can weaken the immune system, leaving patients vulnerable to infection, and produce myriad side effects, such as loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, mouth sores and fatigue. All pose unique challenges to eating well. The American Cancer Society Complete Guide to Nutrition for Cancer Survivors, Second Edition is a comprehensive handbook, authored by four specialists in oncology nutrition, which offers patients and their caregivers a bounty of ways to achieve optimal nutrition, a healthy weight and higher energy levels.

Revised from its first incarnation, Eating Well, Staying Well During and After Cancer, published in 2004, this new tome offers updated information to reflect current research. Much of that can be found in “Hot Topics in Nutrition and Cancer” (chapter 3) and in “Dietary Supplements: Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs” (chapter 5). Both explore the veracity of the latest “miracle cures” (for example, the noni plant) as well as important developments regarding vitamin D, shitake mushrooms and recent government initiatives to control the quality of dietary supplements.

Like the first edition, this book is efficiently organized so that you can skip to the sections pertaining to your specific situation. Whether you’re struggling with staying hydrated, looking for ways to boost your immunity or having difficulty swallowing, each chapter offers a variety of coping methods as well as easy-to-read charts you’ll want to bookmark for quick reference.

Unlike the first edition, however, this guide does not include advice from cancer patients and caregivers. Those thoughtful tips in the survivors’ own words, and the inclusion of their smiling faces, gave the previous edition a personal dimension. Also missing are the recipes at the back, which is odd considering this new compendium has flashier food photography and looks much more like a cookbook. Instead, the ACS has released a companion to this guide, called What to Eat During Cancer Treatment: 100 Great-Tasting, Family-Friendly Recipes to Help You Cope. You may want to make room for both on your bookshelf.

American Cancer Society Complete Guide to Nutrition for Cancer Survivors, Second Editor; by Barbara L. Grant, RD, CSO, LD; Abby S. Bloch, PhD, RD; Kathryn K. Hamilton, RD, CSO, CDN; Cynthia A. Thomson, PhD, RD, CSO [American Cancer Society, 2010]