Intake of healthy and hygienic food is the key to cure childhood cancer at an early stage if it is diagnosed in time, feel experts. The paediatric oncologists of Delhi’s Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre (RGCIRC) said the disease makes the body of the child weak with low immunity and therefore, sometimes the patients do not respond to the treatment. The healthy food makes them strong to compete with the disease.
According to Dr Gauri Kapoor, director in Pediatric Hemato-Oncology at RGCIRC, cancer treatment is prolonged, complex and quite intensive. During the procedure, sometimes child’s body fails to respond to the treatment.
“Good nutrition is integral to successful treatment of cancer. Cancer and its treatment affect a child’s appetite, tolerance to different foods, and their body’s ability to use nutrients. Eating the right kinds of food before, during and after treatment can help a child feel better and stay stronger,” said Dr Kapoor.
She said if a toddler is suffering from mouth ulcer and sore mouth, then liquid diet at frequent intervals should be given to the child.
“In India, about 5 to 10 per cent of children suffering from cancer are diagnosed malnourished. And during chemo-therapy, the drug toxicity increases. Due to this, complication during the treatment increases following which we have to reduce the doses. With this, the risk of death increases too,” said Dr Kapoor. Therefore, nutrition intervention is very important for a child if he is suffering from cancer, she added.
Dr. Tapswini Pradhan, Senior Ocologists at BLK Super Speciality Hospital said that good quality protein rich diet is most important for cancer patients. It helps the body to fight against disease and respond positively to the treatment.
Food should be reach in vitamins. And if raw food item is given to the child it should be clean and well washed. “The cancer cells are so active that they destroy other healthy cells of the body too. With nutritious food, patient can overcome the treatment easily,” said Dr. Pradhan adding that pediartric figures for malignancy is around 80,000 to 1lakh per annum.
In India, it is estimated that nearly 40,000-50,000 new childhood cancer cases present themselves each year according to the findings of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said the doctor.