Meeting the Dietary Needs of People with Cancer.
People with cancer have unique nutritional needs and require special nutritional attention. Cancer treatment, as well as certain cancers themselves, can cause nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, loss of appetite, and other symptoms that may make it difficult to eat your usual foods. Eating the right kinds of foods before, during, and after treatment can help you feel better and stay stronger. John Theurer Cancer Center has a dedicated team of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists who specialize in caring only for patients with cancer.Nutrition counseling and support are offered to all patients at John Theurer Cancer Center.
Your Nutritional Support Team
Our team of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN) and Certified Specialists in Oncology Nutrition (CSO) specializes in all areas of cancer care and works closely with your medical team. They are credentialed through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and provide professional, evidence-based counseling individually and in a group setting—from the time of diagnosis, throughout your treatment, and into long-term survivorship. We believe that with skilled nutritional guidance, people can achieve better health after a diagnosis of cancer than they had before their illness.
Our Nutrition Services
From counseling to awareness, our Nutrition Services team is dedicated to providing you with extraordinary care. We offer:
- One-on-one counseling
- Group classes in our Cooking Studio focused on healthy eating. The Cooking Studio is a special place where you can attend educational presentations and cooking classes and hear from special guests on a variety of nutrition topics pertinent to patients with cancer and their caregivers.
- Orientation courses for caregivers of bone marrow transplant patients (offered in English and Spanish) and patients starting chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
- Nutrition month awareness presentations
- Education about the use of dietary supplements, such as antioxidants and herbal/natural products
A Comprehensive Nutritional Assessment
A Comprehensive Nutritional Assessment
To begin, your nurse screens you for nutritional risk factors. You can also request a consultation with a dietitian yourself. When you meet with the RDN, she conducts a comprehensive nutrition assessment to develop a customized nutrition plan based on your specific needs. You may especially benefit from nutritional counseling if:
- You are losing weight.
- You are gaining weight.
- You want to lose weight.
- You want to improve your diet.
- Your appetite and food intake are decreasing.
- You have nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.
- You have had surgery or other treatment that affects your ability to eat or to use the food you eat.
- You have a type of cancer that can make it hard to eat (such as head and neck cancer or pancreatic cancer).
- You have questions about nutrition or dietary supplements.
How to Contact Your Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Our RDNs work with particular cancer services and doctors, enabling them to become familiar with the specific nutritional needs of those patients.
- Jeanne Ann Braddick, MS, RDN
Doctors: Drs. Jennis, Pascal, Pecora, and Tassan
- Rachel DiPalo, RDN, CSO
Doctors: Drs. Goldlust, Singer, Gutierrez, and Proverbs-Singh
- Rebecca Hirsch, MS, RDN
Doctors: Drs. Waintraub, McNamara, and Graham
Services: Gynecologic surgery, lymphoma
- Robin McConnell, MS, RDN, CSO
Doctors: Dr. Alter
Services: Radiation oncology
- Heather Younker, RDN
Services: Transplant, leukemia, multiple myeloma
- Pam Stofberg, RDN
Services: Relief (palliative care)
- Holly Mills-Dupree, MS, RD, CSO
Services: Lymphoma, multiple myeloma
Eating During Your Visit
If you are receiving an infusion therapy, we serve a complimentary light meal and beverages in the infusion area at lunch time. If you have special dietary needs, food intolerances, or special preferences, we encourage you to bring food from home to ensure that you have those you prefer. You are welcome to store and reheat your food in our pantry. Even if you are not scheduled for a treatment, you may want to bring extra small snacks in case unexpected procedures or treatments extend your time with us. We also have a full-service café on the first floor, offering a variety of tasty and nutritious hot and cold menu choices.
The Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Team
Robin McConnell, MS, RDN, CSO Clinical Nutrition Coordinator
Robin McConnell is the Clinical Nutrition Coordinator at John Theurer Cancer Center and a Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition. A graduate of State University of New York (SUNY) Oneonta and Columbia University, she manages nutritional care in the divisions of Head and Neck and Urologic Oncology and in Radiation Oncology.
Ms. McConnell brings more than 30 years of nutrition and managerial experience to John Theurer Cancer Center after working in a number of medical institutions in the New York/New Jersey area, including New York University Medical Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. As coordinator for all nutrition education programs, she brings her skills as a culinary nutritionist and kitchen gardener to the nutrition programs at John Theurer Cancer Center.
Jeanne Ann Braddick, MS, RDN Oncology Dietitian
Jeanne Ann Braddick is a graduate of SUNY Oneonta and Virginia Tech. She taught high school biology and home economics for several years before becoming a dietitian, starting her career at Nassau County Medical Center and North Shore University Hospital in New York. She has experience working in the ICU and as a clinical nutrition manager. Ms. Braddick’s interest and clinical skills with gastrointestinal malignancies at John Theurer Cancer Center has earned her a Compassionate Caregiver Award by the New Jersey Chapter of The National Pancreas Foundation.
Rachel DiPalo, RDN, CSO Oncology Dietitian
Rachel DiPalo earned her Bachelor of Science at the University of Maryland and completed her dietetic internship at Rutgers University. She is a Board-Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition. Ms. DiPalo works with patients in the areas of gastrointestinal, thoracic, and neurologic cancers. She also enjoys participating in the Cooking Studio, fulfilling a passion for modifying recipes to create healthier meals. Prior to joining the John Theurer Cancer Center team, she co-authored a children’s recipe book that emphasizes healthy eating.
Rebecca Hirsch, MS, RDN Oncology Dietitian
Rebecca Hirsch works with patients with breast and gynecologic cancers. She primarily assists patients in minimizing the impact of cancer therapies on their nutrition status and achieving nutrition stability. Her goal is to optimize wellness through both diet and exercise as women progress toward long-term survivorship. Ms. Hirsch received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the University of Michigan before attending Columbia University, where she received her Master of Science in Nutrition Education. Prior to joining John Theurer Cancer Center, she worked in a variety of dietetic settings, including the United Way and the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
Holly Mills-Dupree, MS, RD, CSO Oncology Dietitian
Holly Mills-Dupree is a Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition. Her responsibilities in this role include providing education and clinical care to patients undergoing chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplant. She works with patients diagnosed with multiple myeloma and lymphoma. Ms. Mills-Dupree’s previous work experiences included Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York University Clinical Cancer Center, and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, as an inpatient Clinical Nutritionist on the oncology service. She completed her dietetic internship at North Shore–LIJ Health System and holds a Master of Science degree in clinical nutrition from New York University.
Pamela Stofberg, RDN Oncology Dietitian
Pamela Stofberg provides coverage to all divisions of John Theurer Cancer Center. She has an extensive background in all areas of oncology nutrition, including prevention, treatment, and survivorship. She received her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Immaculata College before attending New York University’s Nutrition Graduate Program. Ms. Stofberg has more than 30 years of professional experience and has worked in the areas of oncology nutrition, surgical nutrition research, corporate consulting, and community nutrition outreach programs. She is passionate about food and cooking and enjoys sharing the skills that foster homemade meals as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Heather Ann Younker, RDN Transplant Dietitian
Heather Ann Younker has extensive experience in nutritional care and clinical management in acute care and ambulatory settings. She is responsible for the nutrition needs of patients in the Adult Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program and Leukemia Division. Ms. Younker provides nutrition assessment, counseling, and education to patients before, during, and after transplantation. She also participates in a weekly caregiver class, providing counseling on food safety guidelines for patients and their caregivers before stem cell transplant. Ms. Younker received her Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition from Montclair State College