Maintaining good nutrition throughout cancer treatment can be very challenging. Eating the right foods during and after treatment can help you feel better and stay stronger. Ochsner Cancer Institute offers Oncology Nutrition Therapy Services by registered, licensed dietitian(s) to assist you in managing your nutrition needs.

A registered dietitian is a food and nutrition expert who has earned the professional designation of RD from the Commission on Dietetic Registration. Registered dietitians have a bachelor’s degree and complete continuing professional educational requirements to maintain this designation. A registered dietitian is your most credible, objective source of nutrition information.

What to Expect

At Ochsner’s Cancer Center, a registered dietitian will work along with your doctors, nurses and support staff to identify opportunities for nutrition intervention. Medical nutrition therapy provided by a dietitian includes a complete nutrition assessment with a review of your medical history, lab and test results and diet history. A plan to accomplish your personalized nutrition goals will be developed and your ongoing progress will be monitored and evaluated.

Benefits of Nutrition Therapy

Each step in the cancer continuum, from diagnosis through survivorship, poses nutritional challenges for patients. In fact, up to 85% of patients experience weight loss or malnutrition during the cancer journey. Proper nutrition helps patients

  • Maintain body weight
  • Tolerate treatment with fewer breaks
  • Decrease complications and infections
  • Have fewer hospitalizations
  • Increase performance status
  • Improve quality of life
  • Improve survival/outcome

An Ochsner Cancer Center registered dietitian can help if you…

  • Struggle with weight gain or loss
  • Take vitamin pills -- or wonder if you should
  • Want to learn about healthy eating for cancer prevention
  • Have a feeding tube with problems and/or weight loss
  • Require intravenous nutrition (total parenteral nutrition)
  • Undergo chemo-radiation with weight loss
  • Have weight loss before the start of cancer treatment
  • Have stage III or IV of the disease
  • Are diagnosed with head or neck cancer, gastric cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, or colo-rectal cancer
  • Are unable to eat your usual foods
  • Have no appetite or are eating very poorly
  • Experience swallowing problems resulting in not eating for more than two days
  • Have ongoing nausea and/or vomiting, constipation or diarrhea
  • Have sores in your mouth
  • Have a stomach obstruction
  • Have muscle wasting
  • Undergo radiation near the GI track (mouth, neck, chest, stomach, abdomen and pelvic areas)

Nutrition and Cancer Prevention

Medical experts recommend you follow a healthy diet, maintain an ideal body weight, and exercise to help prevent the onset or progression of disease. Excess body weight contributes to as many as 1 out of 5 cancer-related deaths. Being overweight is associated with cancer recurrence, cancer mortality, or preventable mortality from other causes. Ochsner’s nutrition team will help you reach personal weight, physical activity and nutrition goals steered by the American Institute of Cancer Research’s guidelines for cancer prevention.

Setting up an Appointment

Our staff is available for nutrition therapy to assist you before, during, and after cancer treatment. If you are an Ochsner Cancer Institute patient and would like to visit with a dietitian, request a referral from your doctor or call 504-842-3910 for assistance.

Helpful Links

Cancer Prevention

During and After Cancer

Resources