Cookery classes help cancer patients regain their appetities

A CANCER charity is helping patients recover from gruelling chemotherapy sessions with good food.

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Cancer sufferer Miles Webb with dietitian Kirsty Carrie, and Maggie's volunteer Vicky Gibbons and Gloria Grossman prepare to cook up quick and tasty meal for chemotherapy patients          Picture: Mark Mainz
Cancer sufferer Miles Webb with dietitian Kirsty Carrie, and Maggie's volunteer Vicky Gibbons and Gloria Grossman prepare to cook up quick and tasty meal for chemotherapy patients Picture: Mark Mainz

Maggie's runs weekly nutrition workshops, offering advice on how to boost the immune system, increase energy levels and ease the nausea of treatment.

More than 6000 people have attended sessions at the charity's Glasgow centres since they were launched.

While some people undergoing cancer treatment feel well and are able to eat normally, others suffer a range of side-effects including poor appetitie, a loss of taste and nausea and may also be too tired to spend much time cooking.

Patients who have attened the classes have reported faster recoveries from chemotherapy sessions.

Kirsty Carrie, 38, an NHS dietician, who runs the classes, helps patients create quick and nutritious.

Kirsty said: "You are trying to give people a bit more control in their lives.

"A lot of patients going through chemotherapy, their taste buds are affected, they may not feel like eating a healthy diet. They will be tired and nauseous.

"Some people may have lost weight and some may have actually gained weight through treatment.

"Everything we do is medically based. We make it fun and informal."

Kathleen McGugan, 43, a mum-of-two from Renfrew, was diagnosed with breast cancer in November and is undergoing treatment at the nearby Beatson Centre.

She says that her recovery from chemotherapy was better after she cooked recipes taught by Kirsty.

She said: "The treatment affects you in a big way.

"Your taste completely goes, you go off simple things, like toast and pasta. All you think about is food, but you can't taste anything.

"You feel so ill, sore and tired. The only thing you can control is what you eat.

"I went to the classes because I wanted to eat as well as I could.

"The first time that I actually cooked the meals, I had the best recovery from chemotherapy and I think that's down to the food."

The classes are part funded via the People's Postcode Lottery, which has given Maggie's £3.1 million over the last five years.

Vicky Gibbons, 46, a former architect, from Pollokshields, started going to the classes because she wanted to support friends who are undergoing treatment for cancer.

She said: "I was made redundant and had time on my hands.

"I've learned a lot about the types of food which can help after chemotherapy."


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