A La Crosse cancer center is among six nationwide working to provide more tempting food and recipes to patients often nauseated and exhausted due to treatment.

The national Cancer Nutrition Consortium surveyed more than 1,200 patients to determine their symptoms and reaction to foods.

Terre McJoynt is an administrator at Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare Cancer Center in La Crosse and founding member of the consortium. She says the Culinary Institute of America in New York helped develop appealing, nutritional recipes.

The effort will eventually include the centers providing recipes to take home or hospital chefs making food for patients.

"This effort is truly groundbreaking," McJoynt said. "Many of our patients suffer from problems getting adequate nutrition through treatment, and some of them are unsure about what they should be eating. This research study involved the patients and truly helped us to better understand food and beverage preferences, and has allowed our chefs and the industry to rally behind these results and create solutions that will help millions of people going through cancer treatment each year."

McJoynt says they hope to develop a cancer nutrition training program for chefs at the institute and develop prepared foods to sell in stores.

"Together, we learned a valuable lesson," McJoynt said. "We learned this has been a very underserved population. These patients need clear education on how to arm their body with the fuel they need for the fight ahead of them. Together, we provide every patient with credible, evidence-based education that is easily accessible. The meals are easy to prepare, and enjoyable"