Monthly Archives: August 2021

HOW TO COPE WITH APPETITE LOSS IN A LOVED ONE WITH ADVANCED CANCER: ADVICE FOR CAREGIVERS

People with advanced cancers often face changes in their appetite. A patient may stop eating altogether or there may be a gradual reduction in their diet. Ongoing loss in appetite can lead to several complications including weight loss and fatigue to even loss of essential nutrients which can be life-threatening. People with advanced cancer may develop a muscle-wasting syndrome known as cachexia. This means the body is not able to use proteins, carbohydrates, and fats in the manner it is supposed to. The loss of skeletal muscle mass causes general weakness and impairment.

 

Managing loss of appetite is an important part of cancer care and recovery. Studies have shown that starting palliative care early improves outcomes significantly. At Onco-Life Centre, which is a leading multispecialty hospital in Chiplun, our team of health care professionals take nutrition therapy as an important pillar of cancer management very seriously. Patients and their caregivers are guided on all aspects of a balanced diet and to look for early signs of appetite loss.

 

For most caregivers, being there for their loved ones at a crucial time in their life is extremely important, something they deliver religiously. Here, we offer you some tips from our team of health care professionals at Onco-life Centre in caring for your loved ones. Being a multispecialty hospital in Chiplun, these present a diversified view, one collated by multidisciplinary doctors and tested through years of experience:

 

Offer small meals – Instead of the usual 3 big meals, try offering cancer patients 6-8 small meals and snacks in a day.

 

Pack in essential elements – A high protein diet with a healthy balance of carbohydrates and calories is critical. Mix up starchy foods such as roti, rice, bread and pasta with fish, chicken, eggs, paneer, tofu, nuts, beans, and yoghurt.

 

Determine the best time to offer food – It is generally good to offer high-protein items first thing in the day when the appetite is the strongest. However, this may vary from person to person. Identify what time in the day your patient feels hungry and offer food then.
For instance, it is generally advised to offer the largest meal when the person is the hungriest. It may be at breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

 

Look for substitutes – In case your patient does not like solid foods or has trouble digesting it, offer juices, soup, milk shakes and smoothies instead.

 

Keep them hydrated – Fruit juices, coconut water, lemonades go a long way in maintaining hydration but will need to be monitored carefully. For patients suffering nausea, offering small sips of beverages at regular intervals may work better.

 

Fortify your meals – Add sauces, gravies, butter, nuts, and cream to add more calories and proteins to their meals. Substitute regular milk with protein-fortified options.

 

Create a happy atmosphere – Invite friends and family to eat along, create a pleasant ambience and take care to present and serve the food well. It’s the smallest of things that can make all the difference.

 

Change the taste – If the patient is experiencing problems such as a bad or a metallic after- taste, try offering them mints or sugar free candy after meals. Replacing your silverware with ceramic or plastic serving bowls and spoons also helps.

 

Show empathy – Recognise that the patient may be beyond a point where they can overcome appetite loss on their own. There are underlying physiological reasons for this to happen and asking them to push themselves harder will only aggravate the problem. Sometimes the patient may ask you to prepare food but not eat it ultimately. Show patience and empathy and try not to be frustrated.

 

Look for signs of distress – It’s time to consult medical experts if the patient doesn’t eat at all for one day or more, experiences rapid weight loss or pain while eating, doesn’t urinate for an entire day or doesn’t move bowels, is unable to drink or keep liquids down.

 

At Onco-life Centre, which is a multispecialty hospital in Chiplun, the goal of our healthcare professionals is to give patients the best possible advice related to nutrition and wellness. Trained dieticians are readily available to provide counselling to patients and their families on ways to improve nutrition on the one hand and manage food related challenges on the other. Nutritional goals are customised to suit a patient’s individual needs. In addition, a physician may prescribe medicines to improve appetite or nutritional supplements and digestive enzymes for symptom management.

Watching your loved one battle anorexia or lose weight can be emotionally taxing. Do not blame yourself if you are unable to meet your goals. Ask family or friends to share the caregiving duties and connect with other caregivers to find support. At Onco-life Centre which is a multispecialty hospital in Chiplun our goal is to partner you with information, know-how and offer you all the necessary tools in helping your loved ones.

TIPS FOR CANCER SURVIVORS DURING STRESSFUL TIMES

Being diagnosed with cancer is stressful and managing it requires a holistic medical approach that can address a person’s total needs -both physical and psychological. While the treatment protocol is fairly straightforward, supported by extensive research and managed by medical professionals in most countries, the long road to total recovery post treatment can be arduous and lonesome as cancer survivors deal with anxiety and stress.

 

The sudden withdrawal of health care workers can be intimidating, and the fear of recurrence is a huge cause of distress. There are often emotional difficulties related to changes in the body, perception of one’s own sexuality, financial and employment challenges, and concerns for the family. Finally, the ongoing pandemic makes things more stressful as cancer patients are exposed to a higher health risk owing to a weakened immune system and the persistent lockdown and risk of exposure makes it more difficult to access scheduled treatments.

 

Fortunately, Onco-Life Centre, which is one of the best cancer hospitals in Ratnagiri, preserves the highest standards of care for cancer survivors. Our team of oncologists and medical professionals are continuously testing new ways to support the diverse psychological and emotional needs of cancer survivors and have practical hands-on experience in tailoring these to specific needs of individuals or families.

 

As a leading cancer hospital in Ratnagiri, Onco-Life Centre has done pioneering work in cancer-related stress management. Here are some tips shared by our team of experts:

 

Make exercise a daily mantra – exercise releases endorphins or the ‘feel good’ hormones. While any exercise is good, high intensity workouts are better. Consistency is important too as regular exercise reduces body’s stress over time.

 

Indulge yourself with some TLC – start with finding the person you were before cancer struck. And try to bring that back. Rediscover your hobbies and go back to your passions. Show yourself some self-love. You will be surprised to see how far that can take you.

 

Nurture your body, mind, and soul – Eat nutritious, well-balanced meals. Take advice from your doctor if required. Practice meditation and mindfulness. Telling the mind to stop worrying requires practice but it can be learnt.

 

Find something to laugh at – There is a reason why they say laughter is the best medicine. Like exercise, it releases endorphins. Finding someone to laugh with makes things even better. Go ahead, make that call to that ever-cheerful friend, find a funny movie or lose yourself in the labyrinths of the internet. It will lighten your soul.

 

Spend time outdoors – There are many researches that have confirmed that being outdoors is a remedy for depression, anxiety, and stress. Consider going for walks, picking up golf or any outdoor activity that you enjoy and reconnect with yourself.

 

Join a support group – Sharing your experiences with others leads to a feeling of identification and can lessen the trauma even as it can become a source of new information and shared knowledge.

 

Recognise outcomes that aren’t controllable – An approach that can help cancer survivors cope with stress is taking actions against outcomes that are preventable; yet recognizing and accepting parts of their experience that aren’t. For instance, most patients suffer severe anxiety just before going through scans. Therapy can help in adopting a positive mindset that can help cancer survivors accept medical tests as essential milestones linked to their overall wellness.

 

Talk to a doctor – If stress starts interfering with your everyday functions, its time to seek professional help. A doctor may be able to prescribe medicines or recommend therapy. Timely action is extremely critical for efficient stress management.

 

At Onco-Life Centre, which is a leading cancer hospital in Ratnagiri, oncologists provide holistic health care by screening patients for stress-related symptoms early and looking for any signs of distress at critical points throughout their treatment journey. They rely on the most updated techniques and tools in assessing whether a patient needs help in managing their feelings or with any practical concerns. Depending on the severity of their symptoms, they may be provided useful tips for self-management or may be referred to appropriate resources such as therapists or clinical psychologists.

While chronic stress has not yet been proven to increase the risk of developing cancer, there are many studies that have linked it to a tumor’s ability to grow and spread. Taking action is important and at Onco-Life Centre, which is a leading cancer hospital in Ratnagiri, we provide you with the necessary tools in dealing with it.