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Healthy eating is important for everyone. If you have cancer, eating a healthy, balanced diet can help to improve your strength, energy levels and wellbeing.

Cancer and the side effects of treatment can make it hard to get all the nutrients that your body needs. For example, you may:

  • lose your appetite
  • be less able to eat certain foods
  • eat smaller portion sizes than before

These issues can contribute to weight loss and low energy.

Some cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, steroids and hormone therapies, can cause weight gain. If you feel very tired during cancer treatment, you may also be less active than usual and gain weight as a result.

At Cancer Centre London, we have a specialised dietitian service for people living with cancer. Our dietitian can give you advice on healthy eating to strengthen and support your body before, during and after cancer treatment. A balanced diet can help to prevent inflammation, improve your body’s defences and reduce the risk of cancer returning when your treatment is finished.

Our dietitian can work directly with your doctor and make sure that treatment is adapted to your individual needs.

Why should I see a dietitian?

There are many reasons why you may decide to see a dietitian. You may ask for specialist advice about your diet. Your GP or consultant may also refer you to a dietitian to help you manage the side effects of treatment.

Our dietitian can work with you on a one-to-one basis or as part of the wider health team at Cancer Centre London. The dietitian can:

  • help you to understand the evidence and myths about diet and cancer
  • support the treatment of specific cancers
  • support your nutritional needs while you deal with the side effects of treatment, such as:
    • taste changes
    • nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting
    • diarrhoea (loose and watery bowel movements)
    • constipation (difficulty in emptying the bowels)
    • dry mouth
    • sore mouth and throat
    • difficulty in swallowing
    • poor appetite
    • early satiety (being unable to eat a full meal or feeling full after eating only a small amount of food)
  • help you make a specific meal plan after treatment to reduce the risk of further cancer, rebuild your strength and aid recovery
  • prescribe dietary supplements and give you advice about them
  • support you if you have lost weight as a result of your diagnosis or treatment
  • help you if you would like to lose weight in a safe and sensible way after treatment
  • give practical tips for carers to make sure that the person they look after has a balanced diet

Our dietitian can give you useful recommendations about your diet that are based on up-to-date evidence and best practice guidelines. The advice is always tailored to your personal needs.

What treatments can a dietitian offer?

There is increasing awareness that a healthy diet is vital to keep well and prevent disease. Although there is a lot of nutritional information on the internet, it is not always based on scientific evidence. This can make it difficult to choose the best possible diet.

Dietitians have the professional knowledge and skills to give you practical guidance based on reliable, up-to-date research. Our dietitian can create a personal nutrition care plan that suits your medical needs. The dietitian carries out a nutritional assessment and discusses your preferences, priorities and individual challenges. They then prepare a plan to help you make positive choices about your diet and lifestyle.

Are dietitians regulated by a professional body?

Dietitians are the only nutrition professionals who are regulated by law and governed by a professional code of conduct. This ensures that they follow high quality standards when treating all patients under their care.

Our dietitian is registered with the Health Care and Professions Council, which regulates health and care professions in the UK. They are also a member of the British Dietetic Association, which is the professional body for UK dietitians.

How do I book an appointment with the dietitian?

If you would like to see the dietitian at Cancer Centre London, you need to check whether this is covered by any private medical insurance. Otherwise, if you are paying for your own treatment, an initial appointment with the dietitian costs £100 and a follow-up appointment costs £45.

To book an appointment with the dietitian at Cancer Centre London, please telephone 020 8247 3379 or complete this form online.

We may ask you to complete a three-day food diary and bring this to your appointment. If you cannot visit our clinic, we can arrange a telephone appointment with the dietitian.

In some cases, we may contact your GP or consultant before or after your appointment. We can make them aware of our advice to you and check that we have all the information needed to give you the best care.