Treatments for childhood cancer and other pediatric catastrophic
diseases can affect appetite. At St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, a team
of dietitians work with patients to ensure proper nutritional care.
Treatment side effects can cause nausea, unusual allergies
and mouth sores as well as changes to the sense of taste. Nutritional care that
helps patients achieve normal growth and weight gain, and continue normal
activities is important to overall well-being. Nutrition as a treatment can
speed recovery and reduce the incidence of medical complications, thereby
decreasing the number and duration of hospital stays as well as the need for
medications and other treatments.
The St. Jude clinical nutrition team includes certified
pediatric specialists, certified nutrition support specialists and
international board-certified lactation consultants. These specialty dietitians
have additional intensive training in pediatric nutrition, nutrition support
such as alternative feedings by tube or vein, and lactation to support and
protect breastfeeding in the sick infant. The dietitians routinely consult with
other members of the medical team to determine the best course of nutritional
therapy for patients receiving treatment.
In addition to working with patients, the clinical
nutrition staff is involved in several studies aimed at understanding the
long-term effects of treatment and the impact that treatment has upon nutrition