Nutrition is essential to maintain the wellbeing and quality of life of children with cancer. Each child with cancer has different nutritional needs. A registered dietician is a key member of the healthcare team. Dieticians can give advice about good nutrition and create a personal nutrition care plan for the patient in order to maintain good nutrition during the cancer journey. No dietary restrictions have been shown to have an impact in the survival of this and/or other paediatric cancers. Since patients may have swallowing problems, aliment textures are important for avoiding respiratory complications secondary to aspiration of food without the appropriate texture.
Nutritional supplements are available to help increase calories and protein. A feeding, tube may be an option for some patients to help meet nutritional needs. Products are available to thicken liquids to assist those with swallowing problems. A dietician can be reached through your local hospital to assist with nutritional issues. Please talk with your physician if your child is taking any additional vitamins or other dietary supplements.
Further information and resources are available at the Canadian Cancer Society on nutrition for children with cancer.
Palliative care is an interdisciplinary approach for people with life-limiting illnesses. It focuses on providing relief from physical and emotional suffering at any stage of illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and their family.
A Palliative care program may include physicians, nurses, social workers and psychologists. They work together with the primary oncologist to provide additional support. It is appropriate at diagnosis of a serious illness and can be provided as the main goal of care. Although their role is critical at end-of-life care, it is not limited to that. Palliative care can be provided across multiple settings including in hospitals, at home, as part of community palliative care programs, and in skilled nursing facilities. Interdisciplinary palliative care teams work with people and their families to clarify goals of care and provide symptom management, psycho-social, and spiritual support.
In GC patients, palliative care is especially important as symptoms usually progress rapidly. Patients and caregivers may have to learn to manage new symptoms, while still coping with existing ones. A specific description on palliative care for GC patients is available on the “Izas, la princesa guisante” association website.
Further information and resources are available at our curated content for Paediatric Palliative Care.