THE TREATMENT OF CANCER
Medical treatment of
cancer can include surgical removal, radiation, chemotherapy,
or a combination of these methods. These treatments,unfortunately,
have side effects that can further undermine the nutritional status of the
client. Cancer surgery, however, can have some additional effects. Surgery on
the mouth, for example, might well affect the ability to chew or swallow.
Gastric or intestinal resection can affect absorption
and result in nutritional deficiencies. The removal of the pancreas will result
in diabetes mellitus.
Radiation of the head
or neck can cause a decrease in salivary secre-tions, which causes dry mouth (xerostomia) and difficulty in
swallowing (dysphagia). This reduction in
saliva also causes tooth decay and sometimesthe loss of teeth. Radiation
reduces the amount of absorptive tissue in the small intestine. In addition, it
can cause bowel obstruction or diarrhea.
the ability of the small intestine to regenerate absorptive cells, and it can
cause hemorrhagic colitis. Both radiation and chemotherapy depress appetite.
They may cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea leading to fluid and electrolyte
imbalances, which can lead to fluid retention. However, when the therapy is
completed and the client is able to return to a well-balanced diet, these
problems may disappear.