Japanese Food-Focused Dietitian for Eating with Stomach Cancer
June 8, 2021 9:30 AM   Subscribe

My dad has stomach cancer. We're not sure what stage yet. He's Japanese and strongly prefers Japanese food. Does anyone know of a dietitian or nutritionist who specializes in food for people with stomach / gastric cancer, especially with Japanese food?

I considered trying to find someone in Japan who would do a video consultation, but I don't even know where to begin with finding that. My Japanese reading/writing is not up to snuff for extensive online research.

Any help you can offer is very much appreciated in advance.
posted by saltypup to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I would start with the dietitian or nutritionist at the cancer practice where he is being treated; they will be able to give you general guidelines for people in his condition, that should be applicable across cuisines.
posted by Atrahasis at 9:35 AM on June 8

I would agree with Atrahasis. In my network of RDs, I will ask around and PM you if I find a referral. My network is mostly in the US, so if you were open to US dietitians, we have a directory of RDs of color, including Asian dietitians.
posted by buttonedup at 9:43 AM on June 8 [2 favorites]

Makiko Itoh (makiwi on twitter) might be a helpful person to ask about leads or keywords for finding cancer-focused dietitians in Japan. She's a Japanese food blogger who writes in English, has cancer, and is familiar with tricky diets as well as sourcing Japanese foods in western countries (she's in Europe).
posted by quartz at 9:51 AM on June 8 [5 favorites]

Surely there is an immigrant-services organization in NYC where you can ask for information to direct you to nutrition services in his native language. In Philadelphia it's the Nationalities Service Center. My husband needed documents officially translated from Serbo-Croatian when he moved here, and they hooked him up. The organization has lawyers, social workers, and does lots of services for immigrants in my region, so lots of Vietnamese, Thai, Cambodian, Spanish-speakers, and African immigrants. In NYC there is likely to be a larger number of Japanese-speakers and more likely an organization that would support him for referrals.

Failing that, I'd Google Japanese social organizations in NYC and make phone calls to follow up. There might be a Japanese consulate in the city that could help, too. If you can make connections talking to someone personally, they might take it upon themselves to help you and your dad.
posted by citygirl at 9:54 AM on June 8

(I don’t have a solution because we never did find a professional but wanted to echo that nutritionists/dieticians connected to the oncology practice or the hospitals where my Japanese parent received inpatient and outpatient care in the US didn’t have cultural awareness or relevant recommendations. They spoke mostly of reading package labels and drinking Ensure. Good for you to do this research in advance.)
posted by sunrise kingdom at 11:15 AM on June 8 [16 favorites]

I know that San Francisco has Japanese American elder services organizations, I would imagine other cities that have similarly large JA populations such as LA, Vancouver (I think) and Honolulu would too. While these JA elders would speak English, Japanese food is still a central cultural practice. They might have suggestions on what you are seeking!
posted by spamandkimchi at 11:25 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]

Oh gosh, my dad is also Japanese, and I sympathize with you for this task. My dad also strongly prefers Japanese food, and western health advice isn’t that useful. (A close friend of mine who is Chinese went to a nutritionist for a health issue, and despite the nutritionist being well-regarded, the advice was largely unhelpful. My friend commented to me afterwards that “all of this is white people food.”)

If I were you, I would contact your local JACL, or several JACLs in larger cities, and see if someone has any leads or advice. Good luck, and my heart is with you.
posted by umwhat at 11:37 AM on June 8 [4 favorites]

Keiro ran Japanese-American nursing homes for decades and may have recommendations.
posted by bonifate at 1:08 PM on June 8

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