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Cancer Health Center

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Nutrition in Cancer Care (PDQ®): Supportive care - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Nutrition Implications of Cancer Therapies


The chemotherapy regimen and complications associated with the transplant may result in numerous problems that adversely affect nutritional intake and status.[24] During the transplant process, patients may experience nutrition-related side effects such as taste changes, oral dryness, thick saliva, mouth and throat sores, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, lack of appetite/weight loss, and weight gain. Often during the first few weeks posttransplant, patients are fed intravenously to ensure that they receive sufficient calories, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fluids.[25]

Many patients experience mouth and throat sores 2 to 4 weeks after transplantation. Mucositis is the general term that refers to the erythema, swelling, and ulceration of the intraoral soft-tissue structures and the oral and esophageal mucosa in response to the cytotoxic effect of radiation therapy and high-dose chemotherapy. Mouth and throat sores can make eating and swallowing difficult. TBI may also cause dryness of the mouth, temporarily alter the taste of food, and/or cause thick saliva to form in the mouth and throat. Nausea and vomiting are common problems experienced by transplant patients. Nausea and vomiting may be caused by TBI, chemotherapy, and some medications. TBI, chemotherapy, infection, depression, and fatigue can cause a decrease in appetite and weight loss. Lack of appetite may continue to be a problem long after discharge from the hospital. Patients may also experience gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and constipation that could be caused by TBI, chemotherapy, gastrointestinal graft-versus-host disease, infection, and some medications.[26,27]


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This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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