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.