Cancer Nutrition Support

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A cancer diagnosis changes everything. Cancer can sap your energy and leave you malnourished (when your body doesn’t have the nutrients it needs to function). Then there’s treatment. Chemotherapy, surgery, and other treatments can bring side effects that make it hard to eat. That’s why you’ll need cancer nutrition support.

Keeping up your strength is one of the best ways to help fight cancer. At UVA Health, our cancer nutrition specialists are here to help.

Find a Dietitian for Cancer at UVA Health

At UVA Health, you’ll find cancer nutrition specialists, also called oncology dietitians, at one of our cancer treatment locations near you. We have several registered dietitians (RD) who work exclusively with cancer patients.

And you can work with a dietitian who specializes in your type of cancer.

Why Do You Need Cancer Nutrition Support?

An oncology dietitian is a vital part of your cancer care team. They make sure you get the calories and nutrients you need to help you better fight cancer. Research shows that patients who get cancer nutrition support have better outcomes.

A cancer dietitian will guide you on:

  • How to keep eating during cancer treatment
  • How to manage side effects that make it hard to eat
  • How to tackle a loss of appetite

Ask Your Cancer Care Team to Meet With a Dietitian

Here are some reasons to ask your UVA Health cancer care team to refer you to an oncology dietitian:

  • You’ve lost 5% or more of your weight, without trying, over the last month  
  • You’re eating poorly because you’ve lost your appetite
  • You’ve been told to get more of certain nutrients. And you don’t know what foods to eat
  • You’ve had surgery that makes eating challenging

Questions You Can Ask Your Oncology Dietitian

Your dietitian can answer any questions you may have about diet and nutrition. Questions like:

  • What should I eat so I don't keep losing weight?
  • How do I manage treatment side effects that make me lose my appetite?
  • What foods will best nourish my body during treatment?
  • What foods can help me gain back my energy?
  • Should I take any dietary supplements?
  • My care team told me to eat more protein during chemotherapy. What are the best sources?

Meet With a Cancer Dietitian

You can meet with a dietitian before you start treatment. And you can meet with them every few weeks or months, or whenever you come in for a cancer treatment. UVA Health MyChart makes it easy to communicate with your dietitian if you have a question before your next treatment.

Your oncology dietitian is available at all stages of your cancer journey, even into survivorship.

Does Insurance Cover Cancer Nutrition Support?

When you’re receiving cancer care at UVA Health, we won’t bill you or your insurance for cancer nutrition support.

It’s one of the many free cancer support services you’ll find to help you better navigate life after a cancer diagnosis.