Nutrition counseling services

Good nutrition before, during and after treatment helps build strength, maintain energy, overcome side effects and make your cancer treatment more successful. Studies consistently show that attention to your intake of everyday foods positively influences your quality of life before treatment and even months after.

Our dietitian is here to answer your questions and to help develop an individualized plan of nutrition, diet and physical activity based on the most current research and your specific diagnosis, health history and treatment plan.

Before treatment

Starting at the point of diagnosis, nutrition counseling focuses on the necessary shifts you want to immediately make in your diet.

What should you eat?

Our dietitian will help answer that question as well as provide information on how your diet can boost your immune system and support coping with treatment. A proper nutrition plan helps fight the cancer and infection, and can reduce the side effects of treatment.

During treatment

Radiation and chemotherapy can, among other things, affect appetite, sense of taste (known as taste fatigue), and your digestive system.

Nutrition counseling at this stage identifies the type of diet you should follow, a healthy weight to maintain, and meal and snack suggestions for common changes in food cravings.

Some of the questions our dietitian will answer in preparing and maintaining your personalized meal plan:

How many calories and how much protein should you eat daily? What foods are better to increase and decrease in your diet during treatment? What amount and types of fluids should you consider?

After treatment

A healthy diet and lifestyle after cancer treatment helps in recovery, strengthens the immune system and can influence recurrence of disease.

What should you eat after treatment is completed? What level of physical activity should you maintain? What about alcohol consumption? Does nutrition matter now that treatment is over?

Nutrition counseling after treatment continues to offer dietary guidelines that support healthy food choices and access to key nutrients, as well as physical activities that contribute to your long-term well-being.

Complementary, alternative medicines

Every patient is different. What you need to stay healthy will differ greatly from another individual. While vitamin and mineral supplements may be a desired addition to your treatment, it’s important to determine which supplements research shows will interfere with your treatment and which ones boost and maintain your wellness.

In examining complementary and alternative medicines, our dietitian will consider:

  • Protein-calorie supplements
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements
  • Herbal or botanical therapies
  • Antioxidants

About our nutrition specialist

Shelly Kokkeler, MS, RD, CSO, LD is a registered and licensed dietitian who has specialized in oncology for more than 30 years. She offers every patient at WVCI comprehensive, personalized nutrition advice.

Her credentials include:

  • Board certification as a specialist in oncology nutrition
  • Member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Member of the Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group

Learn more about her expertise here.

If you’d like to consult with Shelly about a plan that fits your needs, ask your doctor or nurse for a referral, or call (541) 681-4945 to make an appointment.