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Diet For Cancer Patients On Chemo And Radiation

Why Is Your Diet Important During Cancer Treatment

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Since cancer treatment can lead to fluctuations in appetite and body weight, its important to pay close attention to your diet. In addition to helping you maintain a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet during chemotherapy or radiation therapy can:

  • Help manage treatment side effects
  • Increase energy
  • Reduce inflammation

Five Quick Food Tips For Thriving Through Chemo

Now that youve read about the best foods for chemo patients to eat, there are a few tips and tricks to consider as you plan your chemo-therapy meals.

Tip #1

Eat bland foods whenever possible. Foods that have too strong a taste or scent, or that are too spicy, can set off bouts of nausea and vomiting. Foods that are greasy or too fatty could do the same thing. Start off with easy-to-digest foods and add other well-balanced foods on the days when you feel better.

Tip #2

Cook all your food thoroughly. This is important because raw foods can contain microbes, and people undergoing chemotherapy may not be able to fight them off because their immune systems wont be working optimally. This doesnt mean you have to cook all your food to mush, though. Lightly steaming vegetables for about three minutes helps keep the nutrients while killing off microbes, so you can get the best nutrition while staying safe.

Tip #3

Eat small meals throughout the day. Keeping your stomach full with small meals can help keep the nausea at bay.

Tip #4

Tip #5

Use chemo as a healthy eating reset. As you end your chemotherapy treatment, remember to include foods like cruciferous vegetables, healthy teas, and fiber-filled foods in your daily diet. This can help prevent new cancer cells from growing.

Common Causes Of Malnutrition And Dehydration In Cancer Patients

Even when patients are actively trying to eat well and stay hydrated, conditions caused by the cancer itself and side effects of treatment may lead to malnutrition and dehydration. A lack of appetite, nausea and difficulty swallowing are just a few of the more common symptoms that affect a patients nutritional status.

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Some Cancer Patients May Take Dietary Supplements

A dietary supplement is a product that is added to the diet. It is usually taken by mouth, and usually has one or more dietary ingredients. Cancer patients may take dietary supplements to improve their symptoms or treat their cancer.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a nutrient that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. It helps fight infection, heal wounds, and keep tissues healthy. Vitamin C is found in fruits and vegetables. It can also be taken as a dietary supplement.

See the PDQ summary on Intravenous Vitamin C for more information about the use of intravenous vitamin C as treatment for people with cancer.

Probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms used as dietary supplements to help with digestion and normal bowel function. They may also help keep the gastrointestinal tract healthy.

Studies have shown that taking probiotics during radiation therapy and chemotherapy can help prevent diarrhea caused by those treatments. This is true for patients who receive radiation therapy to the abdomen. Cancer patients who are receiving radiation therapy to the abdomen or chemotherapy that is known to cause diarrhea may be helped by probiotics. Similarly, studies are looking at potential benefits of taking probiotics for cancer patients who are receiving immunotherapy.

Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland . Melatonin helps control the bodys sleep cycle. It can also be made in a laboratory and taken as a dietary supplement.

Oral glutamine

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Proper and adequate nourishment will help the body be strong so that it can cope with the side effects, which may occur as the treatment progresses.

Cancer weakens ones immune system. A healthy diet enables the cancer patient to strengthen the bodys defenses and fight back infections. A healthy diet will also hasten healing of the body tissues that may be damaged during the course of the disease and its treatment

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The Difference Healthy Eating Can Make

While its true that healthy eating is good for everyone, those undergoing radiation therapy especially benefit from the effects of nutrient-rich food. Certain types of radiation therapy can lead to issues with malnutrition or loss of appetite, and these side effects may last anywhere from a few weeks to years after ending treatment. Fortunately, healthy eating can help patients maintain body weight, preserve their strength and replace tissue.

For your overall wellness, strive to eat a well-balanced diet that includes:

  • Protein-rich foods, such as fish, lean meat, legumes, nuts, eggs and dairy, to rejuvenate the immune system
  • Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats for improved energy
  • Carbohydrates from whole grains, including those found in breads, cereals, quinoa, rice and more
  • Fiber from beans, vegetables, fruits and grains for proper digestion
  • A variety of vitamins and minerals to support overall good health

Finally, stay hydrated. Dehydration can present serious health risks during treatment, and its important to drink additional water if your side effects include diminished appetite, vomiting or diarrhea.

Constipation And Diarrhea Are Two Other Common Side Effects Can You Talk About How To Eat For Both Of Those Conditions

Fiber is key to managing both constipation and diarrhea. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber becomes sticky when it gets wet. Oats, which are rich in soluble fiber, are an example of this. When you add liquid to oats, they become thick and gooey.

Insoluble fiber does not absorb much water, so it doesnt change when liquid is added to it. Think of what a piece of celery dropped into a glass of water. It doesnt absorb liquid or change much at all. Thats insoluble fiber.

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    For constipation, include a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber in your diet. Drink plenty of liquid to help move things through your digestive tract more quickly and easily. This can ease constipation.

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    For diarrhea, you want to eat ONLY soluble fiber. Think of foods that absorb water and have a sticky quality after preparation or cooking. Examples include oats, barley, and white rice.

For more soluble fiber, try:

Beans and peas contain significant amounts of both soluble and insoluble fiber.

A daily fiber supplement, which is mostly soluble fiber, can address diarrhea and constipation. If you arent currently taking a fiber supplement, ask your doctor before starting one.

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Shopping And Cooking During Treatment

Simple tasks like shopping and cooking can seem exhausting during your treatment and as you recover. Try to accept any offers of help, even if youre used to coping on your own. You can also take advantage of online shopping or ask local shops if they have a telephone ordering and delivery service.

Its important to have fresh food in your diet, but if you can’t shop regularly, frozen and tinned fruit and vegetables are full of nutrients and can be eaten every day. Choose tinned fruit in juice rather than syrup and tinned vegetables that have less salt.

Find out more about coping with fatigue during and after treatment.

Problems Related To Weight Gain

Chemo & Radiation: Simple Diet Tips to Consider

Current guidelines advocate a modest rate of weight loss during the time of treatment among patients who are overweight or obese, as long as it meets with oncologist approval. Guidelines established for weight management in the general population should be applied to cancer survivors, and should include not only caloric restriction and increased energy expenditure through exercise, but also behavior therapy. While modest rates of weight loss can be achieved by portion control and by substituting low-energy density foods for foods that are higher in calories, more structured and intensive programs that include exercise and promote energy deficits of up to 1,000 calories/day may yield better results. Previous studies have found exercise to be a strong predictor of weight loss among cancer survivors. Accumulating evidence also suggests that physical activity may independently affect the course of colorectal and breast cancer, and also affects the risk of secondary cancers at each of these sites, as well as for endometrial cancers.

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Healthy Drinks For Cancer Patients

Cancer as well all know is one of the most dangerous and terrible diseases known to humans. This is the reason there are many medical professionals specially suggest healthy drinks for cancer patients. When it comes to searching for perfect drinks for cancer patients there are plenty of amazing choices are available. You can easily search for these items all over the internet and also get complete information about their nutritional values.

Drinks for Cancer Patients

Here are 8 healthy drinks for cancer patients that can prove to be really helpful. You must ensure all these drinks in your daily diet so that you can fight cancer and if any of your friends or family member is at risk of cancer then you can recommend these drinks without any doubt in your mind.

1) Smoothies Made Out Of Vegetables And Fruits

  • The best part about having smoothies made out of vegetables and fruits is that they are easier on stomach and has got that refreshing appeal. There are many cancer patients who find it little difficult to swallow and digest their food. These smoothies are perfect for them and give them the required energy that their body wants.

2) Clear And Simple Broths And Soups Are Also Good

  • There are many medical professionals who advice cancer patients to drink clear broths and soups. By doing this they get their fair share of essential nutrients and again these drinks easy on stomach and easy to swallow and digest.

3) Fruit Punch

Why Is Good Nutrition During Cancer Treatment Important

Adequate nutritional intake is important for maintaining energy levels, muscle mass and a healthy weight during and after treatment, and that in turn may improve your treatment tolerance and reduce the risk of adverse treatment side effects. According to the American Cancer Society, proper nutrition during treatment supports your immune system, which may lower your risk of infection and help you heal and recover faster. Nutritional deficiencies often contribute to fatigue and a reduced quality of life during treatment.

Sometimes, people whove struggled with weight for a long time start dropping a few pounds during treatment and dont think its a problem. But even small amounts of weight loss may increase your risk of experiencing treatment side effects and may even mean that your treatment dose has to be adjusted or interrupted. Severe malnutrition or dehydration may lead to hospitalization and/or lengthier hospital stays when hospitalization is necessary.

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Foods For Cancer Patients To Avoid

If youre losing too much weight, try to avoid foods that provide little energy or nutrients. These include low-calorie drinks, salads and clear soups. These fill you up without giving your body the calories and protein it needs.

You might find you need to avoid certain foods because of side-effects youre having during treatment. If you have a sore mouth, you might want to avoid spicy foods. If your immunity is low , you may need to avoid foods that could cause infection. These include cheeses that are mould-ripened or made from unpasteurised milk, raw meat and seafood, and runny eggs. Your nurse will discuss this with you.

Check with your doctor or nurse before drinking alcohol when youre having treatment for cancer. Youll usually be able to drink small amounts of alcohol with most types of chemotherapy. But alcohol can interact with certain chemotherapy drugs and make you feel unwell. It can also irritate any sores in your mouth caused by cancer treatment.

You can read more about foods to avoid in our section: Tips for eating well during cancer.

With our health assessments you get an action plan thats tailor-made for you. Find out more about health assessments >

What Do I Eat After Chemotherapy And For The Next Few Days

Diet &  Nutrition During Chemo &  Radiation Therapy
  • Eat small meals and snacks throughout the day .
  • Eat lower fat, blander foods!
  • Try colder or cool foods these give off less odor and aroma and are especially important if you feel nauseous. Hot foods can have a more pronounced odor, therefore causing an aversion to certain foods.
  • Drink fluids frequentlythis will prevent dehydration and remove some of the byproducts of the chemotherapy. Water is the best, but there are other sources of fluids such as:
  • Apple and grape juice
  • Herbal teas, such as ginger and mint
  • Weak black teas

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Tips For Adding More Protein To Your Diet

Your body needs a balance of calories and protein to work best. Your doctor or clinical dietitian nutritionist may tell you to temporarily increase the amount of protein in your diet. If you recently had surgery or have wounds, eating more protein will help you heal. The suggestions below will help you increase the amount of protein in your diet.

Dietary Patterns And Food Choices

Food choice and proportion within the overall diet also is important for the cancer survivor. Given that cancer survivors are at increased risk for a host of chronic diseases , guidelines recommend prudent diets that rely heavily on unrefined plant foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and which contain limited amounts of fat, simple sugars and red or processed meats. Indeed, the dietary guidelines to reduce risk of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension are quite similar to those aimed at reducing cancer risk . Data from observational studies of colorectal-cancer survivors suggest that, as compared to those who report a Western-type diet , those who report a prudent diet have improved overall survival and reduced rates of colorectal recurrence and mortality. Furthermore, cross-sectional data from breast and prostate cancer survivors suggest that diet quality during survivorship is significantly and positively associated with quality of life and physical functioning.

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Essentials To Pack In Your Chemo Bag

Until you have visited your chemo center for the first time, it can be hard to know what to expect. Typically there are comfortable recliner chairs and a small table. The amount of privacy varies depending on the design of the facility.

You may have access to a TV or some light snacks and drinks. It will likely be a comfortable setup, but you still may want to bring things to help you pass the time or make you feel even more comfortable.

You will want to be sure to bring the essentials for chemotherapy including:

  • Address book or contact information
  • A bucket or bag for the ride home

There are also many nonessential items you can bring to make your cancer experience more pleasant or comfortable. Consider which, if any, of these might be helpful for you during your chemotherapy.

Nutrition For Cancer Patients: How To Fuel Your Body For The Fight

Cancer – Nursing Care and Patient Teaching: Medical-Surgical | @Level Up RN

This page adheres to our medical and editorial policy and guidelines.

When you think about fighting cancer, nutrition may not be the first thing that pops into your mind. Cancer prevention campaigns promote a healthy diet as one means of lowering your risk of developing cancer. But what about after a cancer diagnosis? Does nutrition and eating well play a role?

After a cancer diagnosis, patientsor their family and friendsoften start thinking about how food may affect cancer and its treatment. Well-meaning friends may advise you to follow a certain diet, to avoid eating certain foods or to include various herbs or dietary supplements in your diet. You may search the internet for information, but what you find there can be confusing, conflicting and overwhelming. Its hard to know who to trust. Patients often come to us with questions, like:

  • Should I eat only organic or non-GMO foods?
  • What about a ketogenic diet? Would that help?
  • Should I go vegan?
  • Does sugar feed cancer?

While these are good questions, these concerns should be secondary to the primary goal of nutrition during cancer treatment: maintaining your ability to tolerate treatment and prepare for survivorship.

Good nutrition for cancer patients has the competing goals of quantity and quality: getting the right kinds of nutrients in the right amounts. To help you navigate nutrition during cancer treatment, this post will cover:

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How Can Your Diet Help Manage Cancer Treatment Side Effects

Some dietary changes can help you manage side effects after your treatment begins. These side effects include:

  • Appetite loss. Eat small meals or nutritious snacks throughout the day, rather than three large meals.
  • Constipation. Drink plenty of water, consider a fiber supplement, and add veggies and beans to your meals.
  • Diarrhea. Choose foods or drinks with sodium and potassium .
  • Loss of taste. Knowing what to eat when you cant taste can be difficult. Consider trying new foods with different spices or marinades. You can also add strong flavors, such as lemon or lime juice.
  • Nausea. Anti-nausea foods include citrus, ginger and peppermint oil. You can suck on a slice of lemon, drink ginger tea or eat ginger chews.

Drink Plenty Of Liquids

Hydration is an important aspect of a healthy radiation diet. It is recommended that individuals drink 3-4 quarts of liquids every day. Drinking lots of water is especially important if you experience diarrhea during radiation therapy.

Good hydration flushes toxins out of the body and reduces treatment side effects such as nausea, weakness, bowel changes, and fatigue, says Komar. Staying hydrated can also help keep a patient from going into the cancer center for IV hydration.

Keep a filled water bottle with you at all times and drink, drink, drink. Some Jello, pudding, popsicles and juice products are additional hydration sources, but be cautions of their sugar content. If you do not care for the taste of water, try sneaking water into soup broths, fruit shakes, and flavored teas.

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