Broward Health North
Cancer Center

Cancer Center

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Appetite Stimulation

Symptom and description

Loss of appetite is a loss of the desire to eat. Not eating can lead to weight loss. Weight loss can cause weakness and fatigue, which affect your ability to perform normal activities. Proper nutrition also helps your body prevent and fight infection. Weight loss or lack of appetite may be due to the cancer or sometimes to treatments for the cancer.

Learning needs

You will need to learn the possible causes for loss of appetite and inform your doctor of the signs. You should report the following causes for loss of appetite:

  • Tiredness

  • Pain

  • Taste changes, such as with sugar, salt, caffeine, meat

  • Side effects from medications

Prevention and management

Increasing food intake is important in maintaining your weight. Maintaining your weight will help you perform your daily activities.

To stimulate appetite:

  • Eat small meals 5 to 6 times a day.

  • Limit liquids around meal time to avoid feeling full quickly. Drink liquids at least 30 minutes before meals.

  • Help family members plan meals you would like to eat.

  • Eat in pleasant surroundings in the company of friends and/or family.

  • Try using plastic utensils and cook in a glass pot if foods have a metal taste.

  • Allow others to prepare foods to your liking.

  • Avoid the area where food is being prepared if aromas bother you.

  • Serve cold foods if odors bother you.

  • Plan light exercise before meals.

  • Try new recipes.

  • Avoid cigarette smoke or smoking, which can affect your sense of smell, thus changing your sense of taste.

To avoid a feeling of fullness:

  • Avoid high-fat foods.

  • Drink liquids at least 30 minutes before meals.

  • Chew food slowly.

  • Avoid gas-forming foods, such as cabbage or broccoli and carbonated liquids such as beer or soda.

Safety considerations:

  • Cook all raw protein foods, such as eggs, meats, poultry, fish.

  • Thaw frozen foods in refrigerator or microwave, not at room temperature.

  • Wash all fruits and vegetables.

  • Use only pasteurized dairy products.

  • Wash hands well with soap and water when preparing or serving foods.

  • Use strict cleaning procedures for all utensils and cooking/storage containers.

  • Refrigerate all foods in need of refrigeration after shopping or meal completion.

  • Serve hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Avoid leaving foods at room temperature.

  • Do not use foods beyond expiration dates.

Other methods of appetite stimulation may include the use of medications approved as appetite stimulants, as recommended by your doctor.

To manage side effects:

  • Report any side effects to your doctor or nurse, for instance, dry mouth, mouth sores, nausea and vomiting, or constipation.

  • Ask if your medication needs changing.

  • Keep a log or diary of changes in mood, appetite, or other feelings you experience.

Management of weight loss or lack of appetite is aimed at increasing food intake. To monitor your success:

  • You may be asked to keep a food diary.

  • Your weight should be recorded regularly.

Follow-up

Notify your nurse and/or doctor if any of the following occur:

  • Unable to drink fluids.

  • Feeling dizzy when standing.

  • Unable to take solid food.

  • Change in diet habits.


The Broward Health CyberKnife® - one of only two in Broward County

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer, you will have many important issues to consider and decisions to make. There is one very important thing you won’t have to worry about – where you can find the best possible treatment for your condition. At the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Broward Health North, we are committed to providing excellent, compassionate care to our cancer patients and their families. Cancer can be treated in a variety of ways. In fact, a combination of therapies is often the best way of fighting the disease.

Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

Our team approach to cancer care allows our specialists to design an individualized treatment plan that may include several types of therapies. We offer many innovative and state-of-the-art methods of cancer treatment. Services are coordinated by a multidisciplinary team of fellowship-trained and board-certified physicians. Care and treatment is provided by physician specialists in hematology and medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, endocrinology, urology, radiology, pulmonary, thoracic, palliative care, and pathology, as well as by a support team of oncology certified nurses, pharmacists, clinical dieticians, radiation therapists, physicists, dosimetrists, physical therapists and social workers. The multidisciplinary team meets weekly at cancer conferences to discuss patient treatment planning.

Our services include:

Hematology/Oncology
The Hematology and Medical Oncology Department is dedicated to providing excellent medical treatment to patients with hematological and oncological diseases. Our hematological oncologists are board certified and utilize the latest clinical treatments and research trials for cancer and blood disorders. Medical oncology provides both inpatient and outpatient services on a daily basis. A dedicated inpatient unit serves the specialized needs of hematology oncology patients. Outpatients are seen in our state-of- the-art Infusion Center that provides chemotherapy patients with the most comfortable environment possible. The Center features reclining chairs with individual flat screen TVs and DVD players.

Outpatient Infusion Center
Most people undergoing cancer treatment do not require hospitalization. The Outpatient Infusion Center provides services to adult patients needing injection, infusion and/or transfusion of chemotherapeutic agents, blood and blood products, antibiotics and other medications. These services are provided by oncology-certified registered nurses in a comfortable, friendly setting.

Inpatient Care
When hospitalization is required, our oncology unit provides specialized care under the supervision of a highly trained chemo certified staff.

Radiation Therapy
The Radiation Therapy department has been providing radiation therapy services for our community since 1975. Our aim has always been to provide quality patient care in an environment of compassion and respect. While our team members and technology have changed, our commitment to provide outstanding care for our patients remains. Expert radiation oncologists, physicists, dosimetrists, and therapists work with a team of surgical and medical oncologist to deliver the latest technology in radiation treatment for cancer patients.

Linear accelerator radiation therapy technology, in combination with three-dimensional conformal beam treatment planning, is available at Broward Health North. This allows for the most precise delivery of treatment with minimum overall radiation exposure. Also available is brachytherapy, in which radioactive seeds are implanted for prostate and other cancers.

New Cancer Technology - Broward Health North adds advanced cancer treatment technology: Broward Health CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System and Varian Trilogy Image Guided Radiation Therapy System (IGRT/IMRT).

Surgical Oncology
Oncologic surgeons who are fellowship trained (surgical oncologists, urologists, gynecologic oncologists and thoracic surgeons) utilize all the latest surgical protocols in the treatment of cancer including minimally invasive surgery, laparoscopic surgery and thoracoscopic surgery.

Barbara Ziegler Palliative Care Program
The Barbara Ziegler Palliative Care Program was the first of its kind in South Florida, and is dedicated to the physical comfort and emotional and spiritual support of patients with chronic progressive illness regardless of diagnosis, prognosis, other treatments or resuscitation wishes.

The program offers the latest medical treatment combined with up-to-the-minute pain and symptom management delivered by specially trained doctors and nurses. Care is given in the home, office, outpatient center and inpatient palliative care units.

Diagnostic Imaging
The Radiology Department plays an integral role in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients. Radiologists utilize the most up-to-date technology to provide state-of-the-art detection and follow-up to assess treatment effectiveness.

Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
The CAP accredited Pathology and Laboratory staff is committed to providing the highest quality services crucial to the rapid diagnosis and treatment of patients with cancer. Pathologists are laboratory based physicians who collectively have board certifications.

Nursing Services
Oncology-certified nurses receive advanced education in the care of cancer patients. Training includes the administration of cancer drugs, assessing and monitoring side effects, symptom management, and the education of patients and their families.

Pharmacy Services
Oncology-trained pharmacist work with physicians to review, plan and monitor all drugs used for cancer treatment and their interactions, ensuring dose accuracy and minimizing side effects.

Nutritional Services
Clinical dietitians offer assistance in meeting daily nutritional needs to maintain strength and prevent weight loss. Nutritional counseling is also offered to patients who experience side effects while undergoing cancer treatment.

Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy
The highly trained staff in the Rehabilitative Service department offers each patient individual and personal treatment with the ultimate goal of resuming the most normal life possible.

Pain Management
The pain specialists at the Cancer Center provide expert evaluation of pain syndromes related to cancer and provide treatment to control these pains.

Hospice Care
Our hospice unit offers patients the comfort and peace of mind of a hospital-based hospice setting, offering extended or interim care for cancer patients

Research Education and Outreach

Cancer Research
The newest research in cancer center prevention, detection and treatment is offered through a wide variety of clinical research studies. Broward Health North gives Cancer Center patients more options for cancer care and access to the latest advances in cancer treatment. For questions relating to Research Trials contact 954-786-6736

Genetic Screening and Counseling Program
This program primarily serves patients at high risk for cancer based on their personal and/or family history. Cancer risk assessment is provided, as well as education regarding cancer risk and inherited forms of cancers. The option of genetic testing is extensively explored with patients and / or family members based on risk assessment and family history.

Cancer Data Center
Much of the understanding of cancer and the advances in cancer treatment today are due to very carefully compiled worldwide information about the outcomes, quality of life and survival of patients receiving treatment. The Cancer Data Center, while following confidentiality policies collects, manages and analyzes this data in order to make it available for education and research.

Social Services
Oncology Social Workers provide each patient and their family with information and referral to community resources, counseling, financial assistance and emotional support. The Cancer Center offers support groups, educational programs and the signature programs of the American Cancer Society. These programs include “The Look Good...Feel Better Program,” which provides make-up and wigs for those in treatment and the yearly “I Can Cope Program,” which provides education to newly diagnosed patients and their families.

Education and Outreach
Each year, the staff at the Center develops a complete community education and outreach plan. Support groups, health fairs, lectures and community screenings are used to educate residents regarding cancer risk factors, early detection and treatment. For information pertaining to free community education, screenings and support groups, please view our community calendar.

More Information

For additional information about Cancer Services, please call our patient information line: 954-786-6460

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