Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Nutrition and childhood cancer

Receiving adequate nutrition is important for all children to help them grow and stay healthy. However, consuming sufficient calories and protein is more important for children with cancer since the disease typically increases their nutritional needs. But since every child is unique and tolerates treatment differently, the child's health care team will individualize the nutrition plan. A dietitian can determine your child's specific calorie and protein needs. Children with cancer need proper nutrition to:

  • Continue to grow and heal
  • Better tolerate chemotherapy or radiation and experience fewer side effects
  • Maximize quality of life
  • Gain, maintain or lose only a minimal amount of weight