Skip to content

Prostate Cancer Lab #41: Applying Nutrition Science to the Optimization of Cancer Treatment by Solving Symptoms (Susan Bratton)

My mission is that evidence-based nutrition becomes the standard of care incorporated into treatment guidelines.” – Susan Bratton

Our first priority is to help patients manage their symptoms, so they can stay on therapy, they can do better and feel better.” – Susan Bratton

Meeting Summary

Cancer treatment is difficult for many reasons, including the side effects. 100% of cancer patients experience side effects of the cancer and its treatment, 50% of which are undetected by their clinical team. Unmanaged, symptoms lead to dose reduction, treatment suspension, deteriorating in quality of life as well as visits to the emergency room, oncologist, primary care provider and hospital admissions. Scientific literature demonstrates that nutrition can be leveraged to reduce frequency, severity and duration of these symptoms and side effects leading to better outcomes and quality of life. Symptom self management through nutrition empowers patients at a time when most things are out of their direct control. 

Susan Bratton is the founder and CEO of Savor Health, a digital health company that applies nutrition science to optimize the treatment of cancer through personalized, evidence-based nutrition symptom self management education and guidance. Susan shared her evaluation of the scientific literature on nutrition intervention in cancer care which led her to founding Savor Health to help cancer patients and their families access nutrition support during and after treatment. 

What are the benefits advanced cancer patients seek from nutrition advice? 

  • Better outcomes: The first priority is to help you manage your symptoms, so you can stay on your therapy, do better, and feel better. Nutrition can delay time to onset and reduce the frequency, severity, and duration of symptoms 
  • Learning: By examining data from other patients, we can better understand the mechanism of action and why things happen to one person and not another. 

What are the problems with nutrition advice today? 

  • Too few dietitians. There aren’t enough dietitians to meet demand. There is only one dietitian for every 2700 cancer patients, and the vast majority of those dietitians are in the 71 NCI-designated cancer centers, where only 30% of patients are treated. The remaining 70% are treated in a community cancer setting, where there are few, if any, nutrition resources. 
  • Misinformation. There’s a lot of non-scientific stuff out there. “Quacks” are promising false cures, and often having patients do things that are detrimental to their treatment. 
  • Lack of personalization. There aren’t a lot of nutrition companies in cancer nutrition. Recipes can be sorted by meal occasion or cultural or ethnic preferences, but they are not targeted to clinical needs, or preferences in how someone wants to eat. 

What is the solution – the services that advanced cancer patients need? 

  • Access to advice through a virtual dietitian. A virtual dietitian can provide on demand support and guidance 24/7. 
  • Advice based on scientific evidence. Support and guidance referenced and cited from tier one peer-reviewed journals and/or treatment guidelines. 
  • Personalized advice. Support and guidance based on the primary cancer diagnosis, the treatment regimen, the symptoms that patients are experiencing, underlying comorbidities, medications, height and weight for a BMI, and weight history. Also based on context: eating preferences, food allergies, ethnic religious preferences, food insecurity and other social determinants. 
  • Easy to use. Delivered via mobile phone, 24/7, on demand, using texting. 

What is specific advice for prostate cancer patients? 

  • Lower inflammation through anti-inflammatory foods. 
  • Lose weight. Weight gain is correlated with recurrence and inferior outcomes. 

How do advanced cancer patients work with Savor Health? 

  1. You fill out the intake form (e.g., mobile phone number, terms and conditions, survey questions).
  2. Matching algorithms take your data and find the most appropriate intervention for you at that point in time. 
  3. You can ask questions, e.g., about recipes, or foods to eat or avoid. 
  4. Advice is pushed to you via text messages. 

Are Savor Health’s services expensive? 

Savor Health’s services are free to patients. It’s paid for by pharma companies and by the health insurance companies. 

What is the future vision of nutrition in cancer care? 

The future vision is that evidence-based nutrition becomes the standard of care incorporated into cancer treatment guidelines. When you’re diagnosed with cancer, in addition to whatever treatment regimen your physician prescribes (chemo, radiation surgery, immunotherapy), you’re also prescribed a nutrition intervention that is designed to be complementary and additive to the treatment that you’re undergoing.

The information and opinions expressed on this website or platform, or during discussions and presentations (both verbal and written) are not intended as health care recommendations or medical advice by Prostate Cancer Lab, its principals, presenters, participants, or representatives for any medical treatment, product, or course of action. You should always consult a doctor about your specific situation before pursuing any health care program, treatment, product or other course of action that might affect your health.

Meeting Recording

Leave a Reply

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