Unfortunately, cancer is among the leading causes of death in the United States year after year. Until recently, most resources dedicated to fighting the disease focused on aggressive treatments like radiation and chemotherapy. The past generation, however, has seen a rise in efforts both to prevent cancer and sensibly manage the disease once it has been diagnosed. This is where the need for cancer nutritionists has emerged.
Cancer Nutritionists’ Dual Roles
Enjoying barely any visibility just two decades ago, cancer nutritionists are now recognized as important front–line warriors in the ongoing fight against cancer. As they maintain two distinct types of clients, their mission is two–fold.
For regular folks with a higher risk for developing certain types of cancers or a history of cancer in the family, cancer nutritionists compile nutrition plans chock full of the antioxidants that fight free radicals, the harmful molecules that travel the bloodstream and affect harmful changes in cells that can cause cancer if left untreated.
Managing Patients’ Nutrition at a Crucial Time
As any cancer nutritionist will tell you, prevention is the most important weapon in the fight against cancer. Of course, the disease cannot be prevented 100 percent of the time, so cancer nutritionists must be prepared to manage the nutritional intake of those fighting it.
To that end, cancer nutritionists prepare fruit–heavy recipes that contain plenty of antioxidants to maintain a hostile environment for replicating cancer cells. They also combat the frequent nausea and vomiting that accompanies a typical chemotherapy regimen with a hearty pro–biotic liquid diet heavy on fruit, yogurt and other dairy products. Cancer nutritionists know that patients must maintain a healthy weight and muster plenty of energy if they are to fight their disease effectively.
How to Become a Cancer Nutritionist
With the unfortunate prevalence of cancer in our society, it’s easier than ever to land a job working as a nutritionist at a cancer treatment center or to grow your own roster of clients at a private cancer nutrition practice. Cancer nutritionists can also earn more. With the amount of education and training needed, the average cancer nutritionist salary tends to be higher than other nutritionist career fields.
The first step on your way to beginning a career as a cancer nutritionist is to obtain your bachelor’s degree in nutrition science. Depending on the laws in your state, you may need to get a master’s degree at some point to become a fully–registered dietitian. There are about 300 programs accredited by the American Dietetic Association. Getting your education at one of the top nutritionist schools can help give you a leg up on the competition.
Real–World Cancer Nutritionist Experience
Either during school or immediately upon graduation from a nutritionist program, get an internship at a practice or hospital that specializes in cancer treatment. Take the American Dietetic Association’s registration test to become a Registered Dietitian, which will allow you to work as a nutritionist wherever you choose.
You’ll need to work in the field of oncology for an extended period of time before you can officially become ADA–certified as a Certified Specialist in Oncology, or CSO, the endpoint in your journey to success as a cancer nutritionist.
As a board–certified cancer nutritionist, you may potentially be in a position to prevent some cancers as well as make those suffering from the disease healthier and more comfortable. Begin your future today by entering your zip to get nutritionist school information in your area!