Fighting Cancer with Nutrition


Health food and Cancer fighting foods nutrition concept with a green boxing glove emerging out of an open broccoli vegetable as a health care metaphor for a healthy lifestyle diet rich in natural fruit and vegetables to attack tumors and fight illness.


Health Power’s President, Dr. Goodwin, interviews Jessica A. lannotta MS, RD, CSO, CDN, Chief Operating Officer of Savor Health and a registered dietitian and certified specialist in oncology nutrition (CSO) – one of less than 800 in the world. Jessica has worked in inpatient and outpatient oncology settings since 2001 in the North Shore-LIJ Health System.

Health Power: What types of cancers are minorities at higher risk for?

Jessica: There are certain cancers that are more prevalent in minority groups.  The Hispanic and African American populations are more likely to be diagnosed with late stage breast cancer compared with non-Hispanic white women.  Korean men have a higher death rate from lung cancer among all Asian subgroups.  Research has also shown that some minority groups are less likely to undergo cancer preventative screenings, which results in a higher risk of developing cancer.  American Indians and Alaskan Natives are less likely to receive a PAP smear, contributing to these populations having the highest cervical cancer mortality among American women.  Similarly, Asian Americans are less likely to undergo breast cancer screening. 1

Health Power: What are the risks of being malnourished after a cancer diagnosis?Jessica Iannotta - Nutrition for Cancer Patients

Jessica: Malnutrition is present in 50-80% of all cancer cases and in over 80% of advanced cancer cases.  It can be a result of both the cancer and side effects of treatment. 2 Becoming malnourished during cancer treatment can have a profound effect.  Research demonstrates that malnutrition can cause a poorer response to treatment, decreased quality of life, and increased mortality. 3

Health Power: Why does nutrition matter when it comes to cancer?

Jessica: Nutritional issues are present among 2/3 of cancer patients. 4 Poor appetite, weight loss, taste and smell aversions, and gastrointestinal problems can affect adequate nutrition, regularly leading to malnutrition. Addressing these symptoms can help improve nutritional outcomes, patient survival rates, and prevent delays in treatment. 3-4 Research has shown that the majority of oncology patients do not receive nutrition counseling or intervention. 5 At Savor Health, we work with cancer patients to help them to maximize their nutritional intake and combat the nutrition-related side effects of cancer treatment.

Health Power: What kind of research has been conducted to prove your approach?

Jessica: Multiple studies have been conducted investigating the role nutrition intervention plays in cancer treatment. When nutritional issues are addressed and patients receive nutritional intervention, research demonstrates that those patients experience less weight loss and have improved nutritional status, quality of life, and physical function. 4 Nutritional interventions have also been shown to help patients maintain or increase weight, stabilize or reverse weight loss, preserve pre-operative weight and reduce severe post-operative complications. 6-9

Health Power: What types of nutritional solutions does Savor Health offer cancer patients?

Jessica: We have a team of oncology certified Registered Dietitians to help patients in all aspects of cancer treatment: diagnosis, active treatment, and even survivorship.  We know the importance of nutrition and can assist patients with weight loss, decreased appetite, and other cancer- related side effects.  We offer three different services for three different needs of the oncology patient.  First, our custom meal delivery is geared to those patients who do not have someone at home to cook for them or who do not have energy to cook for themselves.  The meals are customized for each customer based on their nutritional status, side effects from treatment, and food preferences.  Another service is our written meal plan option, which consists of 7 days of recipes customized for the specific needs of the customer.  This is a good option for those who have the energy to cook, cancer survivors, or those who have someone at home who wants to prepare the meals.  Both the meal delivery and written meal plan include a nutrition consultation with an oncology Registered Dietitian to provide assistance on nutrition issues and concerns.  We also offer nutrition consultations as a stand-alone service for those patients who have specific nutrition related questions or problems.  At Savor Health, we recognize the crucial role that nutrition plays in cancer treatment and strive to help patients and caregivers not only meet their nutrition goals but prevent malnutrition and worsening of side effects that can impact their treatment and quality of life.

Visit Savor Health’s website at:



1. Intercultural Cancer Council. Cancer Fact Sheets. Accessed on July 27, 2017.

2. Karthaus M, Frieler F. Eating and drinking at the end of life. Nutritional support for cancer patients in palliative care. Wien Med Wochenschr. 2004;154(9-10):192-198.

3. Spiro A, Baldwin C, Patterson A, Thomas J, Andreyev HJN. The views and practice of oncologists towards nutritional support in patients receiving chemotherapy. British Journal of Cancer. 2006;95:431-434.

4. Vigano A, Watanabe S, Bruera E. Anorexia and cachexia in advanced cancer patients. Cancer Surv. 1994;21:99-115

5. Choi KH, Park JH, Park SM. Cancer patients’ informational needs on health promotion and related factors: a multi-institutional, cross-sectional study in Korea. Support in Cancer Care. 2011;19:1495-1504.

6. Marin CM, Gomez CC, Castillo RR, Lourenco NT, Garcia HM, Loria KV, Pardo MJ. Nutritional risk evaluation and establishment of nutritional support in oncology patients according to the protocol of the Spanish Nutrition and Cancer Group. Nutr Hosp. 2008;23(5):458-468.

7. Ottery FD, Kasenic S, DeBolt S. Volunteer network accrues >1900 patients in 6 months to validate standardized nutritional triage. Proceedings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. 1998;17, A-282:73a.

8. Ligthart-Melis GC, Weijs PJ, te Boveldt ND, Buskermolen S, Earthman CP, Verheul HM, van der Peet DL. Dietician-delivered intensive nutritional support is associated with a decrease in severe postoperative complications after surgery in patients with esophageal cancer. Dis Esophagus. 2013;26(6):587-593.

9. Dobrila-Dintinjana R, Trivanovic D, Zelic M, Radic M, Dintinjana M, Petronovic D, Matijasic N. Nutritional support in patients with colorectal cancer during chemotherapy: does it work? Hepatogastroenterology. 2013;60(123):475-480.


Remember the Health Power motto: Knowledge + Action = Power!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *