If you can’t eat a balanced diet or are losing too much weight, your doctor or dietitian may suggest nutritional supplements, e.g. Sustagen, Ensure, Fortisip and Resource. These contain energy, protein and other nutrients that can help you maintain your strength.
Ask a dietitian where to buy supplements, and to advise you on the type and quantity best suited to your needs. Nutritional supplements should be taken in addition to the foods you are able to eat, and are best used as snacks between meals. They are available as:
- ready-made drinks, bars, puddings and custards
- powders to mix with milk or water, or to sprinkle on food.
A dietitian can prepare eating plans for you and give you advice about nutritional supplements.
Dietitians work in all public and most private hospitals. There may be a dietitian connected to your cancer treatment centre – check with your specialist or cancer care coordinator.
The Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) can also help you find an Accredited Practising Dietitian who works in your area and specialises in cancer. Visit daa.asn.au or call them on 1800 812 942. If your GP refers you to a dietitian, you may be eligible for a Medicare rebate. If you have private health insurance, you may be eligible for a rebate depending on your type and level of cover.
The DAA has information on the typical fee for private dietitian consultations.
Dr Lorraine Chantrill, Head of Department, Medical Oncology, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, NSW; Marion Bamblett, Nurse Unit Manager, Cancer Centre, Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA; Prof Katherine Clark, Clinical Director of Palliative Care, Northern Sydney Local Health District Cancer and Palliative Care Network, and Conjoint Professor, Northern Clinical School, The University of Sydney, NSW; Lynda Dunstone, Consumer; Kate Graham, Accredited Practising Dietitian – Upper GI Dietitian, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Gina Hesselberg, Radiation Oncologist, St George Hospital Cancer Centre, NSW; Dr Marni Nenke, Endocrinologist and Mary Overton Early Career Research Fellow, Royal Adelaide Hospital, SA; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; A/Prof Nicholas O’Rourke, Head of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Royal Brisbane Hospital and The University of Queensland, QLD; Rose Rocca, Senior Clinical Dietitian – Upper GI, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Gail Smith, Consumer. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.