Tube feedings or intravenous nutrition are necessary for some children with leukemia. These types of feedings do not represent a failure on the part of parents or children. Although feeding by tube and IV may require additional hospitalization, it helps if parents understand the benefits clearly. If a child with cancer becomes malnourished, events are set in motion that can have grim consequences. As appetite and weight decrease, the childs ability to repair cellular damage caused by treatment is impaired. The child becomes progressively weaker and his resistance to infection decreases. Infections and weakness may require interruptions in treatment. This scenario needs to be prevented. Most protocols require tube or IV feeding after 10 percent of body weight is lost. There are two types of supplemental feeding.
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