Nourishing Your Body Through Bladder Cancer: Insights from Spring Bladder Cancer Summit

Patient advocate, chef, and founder of Cook for Your Life (CFYL), Ann Ogden-Gaffney, and registered dietitian, nutrition advisor and CFYL editor, Gretchen Gruender, MS RDN CSO spoke on the role of nutrition in bladder cancer treatment during the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network’s (BCAN) spring 2023 summit.

The event brought together bladder cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers to share stories and experiences, while various experts and clinicians gave talks and hosted discussions about the disease and how to best manage it.

Ann founded the CFYL website to bridge the knowledge gap and provide practical guidance on nutrition during cancer treatment. Gretchen is a board-certified specialist in oncology nutrition and joined CFYL in September 2023. They engaged in a panel discussion with BCAN director, Stephanie Chisolm, about the role of food in and out of cancer treatment and how to make eating healthy both manageable and affordable.

“I was honored to participate in the BCAN Summit in Phoenix this year with Ann,” Gretchen said. “Ann shared some very useful tips on building out a pantry along with recipe suggestions. It’s a reminder to all of us that eating delicious and healthy food does not have to be complicated or expensive.”

Calling on her extensive experience in oncology nutrition, Gretchen answered questions about plant-focused eating, how to address fatigue through nutrition and offered tips for caregivers.

Nutrition plays a crucial role in supporting the overall health and well-being of individuals undergoing cancer treatment. Bladder cancer patients may face challenges related to taste changes, appetite loss, and other side effects of treatment. Therefore, it’s important to pay close attention to your diet and make choices to support your body’s nutrition needs during this time. 

Practical Tips for Nourishing Your Body

The insights and tips shared during the Spring 2023 BCAN Summit by CFYL experts provided practical guidance on how to make healthy and delicious food choices during bladder cancer treatment. A few are listed below: 

  1. Build a well-stocked pantry: Having a pantry stocked with healthy and versatile ingredients can make meal preparation easier and more convenient. Dry and canned beans, whole grains, frozen fruits and vegetables, as well as herbs and spices can be used in various recipes and provide essential nutrients. 
  1. Be mindful of cooking techniques: The way food is prepared can impact its flavor and enjoyment. Experimenting with different cooking techniques such as roasting, grilling, or sautéing can help enhance the taste of food during treatment. 
  1. Incorporate nutrient-dense foods: Nutrient-dense foods, such as colorful fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support the body’s immune system and overall health. 
  1. Address taste changes: Taste changes are common during cancer treatment, and it’s essential to find ways to manage them. Using citrus fruits, herbs, and spices can help mask bitter or metallic tastes in food. 
  1. Stay hydrated: Staying hydrated is crucial during cancer treatment to support the body’s functions and manage side effects. Drinking water, herbal teas, and broths can help maintain hydration levels. 

Nourishing your body through bladder cancer treatment is essential for supporting overall health and well-being. Watch the full session and other BCAN summit sessions here:

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