Patient Need-To-Knows: Working with Oncology Registered Dieticians

Patient Need-To-Knows: Working with Oncology Registered Dieticians

Patients need their medical records for a broad spectrum of things. Being a patient can take significant work to get the care one needs. This can include trying to figure out what to eat, or not to, when you have a particular diagnosis, have multiple comorbidities, and have a number of different medications.

One of the most common questions I hear from patients once they’ve started a particular treatment, such as chemotherapy, is, “What can I eat? Are there foods I should eat less of? How do I know if I need more of a specific nutrient?” Diet and nutrition can be very perplexing to navigate alone, especially where there are significant treatment-related side effects, such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, mouth sores, and malnutrition. Diet and nutrition can also be extremely complicated in the context of a diagnosis such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, or advanced cancer. Imagine how challenging it may be to have multiple conditions, numerous medications, and not guidance.

A registered dietician may help.

Did you know that it’s helpful to have a copy of your medical records in order to work with a registered dietician? Registered dieticians may review patient medical records and use the data and information to tailor recommendations and individualize recommendations on all things diet and nutrition related.

Working with a registered dietician can help patients and their families get the most pertinent information they need to make decisions about their care and their nutritional goals. Having access to one’s medical records is an important step in collaborating with a registered dietician as they may review your diagnosis, treatments, past medical history, lab work and many other pieces of health information in order to craft an individualized nutrition plan. This is a critical piece of information that most patients and their families are rarely told about.

Ever wondered about what a registered dietician is, what they do, and why their work is so important, especially in oncology? Take a listen to this episode of Patient Need-To-Knows, as I talk to Chelsey Schneider, registered dietician and oncology nutrition subject matter expert.

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