Pediatric Patients and Dietary Choices: Examining Alternative Options, Decision Making, and Misinformation

Rebecca Zanecosky, MSN, CRNP, PNP-AC


Background: Nutrition is a key component of oncologic therapies and treatments. Patients and families are interested in the integration of alternative diets to promote therapy response as well as counteract the cancer. With the expansion of online and social media presence comes the endorsement of nonscientific claims.

Objectives: The purpose of this article is to review alternative diets and discuss the basis of good nutrition in pediatric patients with cancer. This article will also explore where patients and families are likely to seek their information and assess their level of trust in the information.

Methods: Five alternative diets and two supplements were assessed through a literature review for their effect on pediatric patients with cancer.

Findings: Additional research is needed to prove consistent and definitive dietary benefits for pediatric patients with cancer; however, some diets have demonstrated promising results. A general diet for pediatric patients with cancer consists of an appropriate distribution of nutritious carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. However, unregulated sources of information remain a risk.

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