Cancer Nutrition and Rehabilitation – Its Time has Come!
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Cancer is a systemic disease that can affect nearly every organ in the body, resulting in a progressive loss of organ function. That loss of function may be initially slow, having minimal effect, or it may be rapid, resulting in more dramatic changes.The usual medical management of patients with cancer has focused more specifically on the administration of cytotoxic treatments. These treatments can potentially eradicate or minimize the tumour, but they may also have toxic side effects that in turn can also affect the patient.Cancer rehabilitation is a process that assists the individual with a cancer diagnosis to obtain optimal physical, social, psychological, and vocational functioning within the limits created by the disease and its treatment. The McGill Cancer Nutrition and Rehabilitation (CNR) program developed as a result of the ever-increasing demand for a focus on addressing individual cancer patients and their needs, as well as on achieving optimal tumour-related outcomes. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the CNR's global objective is to empower individuals who are experiencing loss of function, fatigue, malnutrition, psychological distress, and other symptoms as a result of cancer or its treatment to improve their own quality of life. All team members-experts in their respective fields-assess all patients. At a subsequent team discussion and planning meeting, a specific 8-week program is designed for each patient. The hoped-for outcome for the CNR program is primarily to empower patients to "take control" or to enable them to improve their own quality of life. This article reviews the philosophy of the CNR's approach and the roles played by the various members of the team.
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