Saturday, February 24, 2024

Foods To Eat During Radiation Treatment

What To Do If You Have Problems

What to Eat and What Should Avoid During Radiation Therapy? | Dr. Kanika Sharma (English)

Focus on eating high fat foods if you are having difficulty eating enough. There are more calories in fat than in protein or carbohydrate.

Remember that you might lose a little weight during radiotherapy. But if you are having any problems with eating tell the team involved in your treatment. If you are having radiotherapy to the head or neck you may need a tube into your stomach to have liquid food for a time.

Sore Throat And Trouble Swallowing

The following may help cancer patients who have a sore throat or trouble swallowing:

  • Eat soft foods that are easy to chew and swallow, such as milkshakes, scrambled eggs, oatmeal, or other cooked cereals.
  • Eat foods and drinks that are high in protein and calories.
  • Moisten food with gravy, sauces, broth, or yogurt.
  • Stay away from the following foods and drinks that can burn or scratch your throat:
  • Hot foods and drinks.
  • Cook foods until soft and tender.
  • Cut food into small pieces. Use a blender or food processor to make food smooth.
  • Drink with a straw.
  • Eat 5 or 6 small meals every day instead of 3 large meals.
  • Sit upright and bend your head slightly forward when you eat or drink, and stay upright for at least 30 minutes after eating.
  • Do not use tobacco.
  • Talk to your doctor about tube feedings if you cannot eat enough to stay strong.
  • Dos & Donts Of Eating During Cancer Radiation Therapy

    What should I be eating during cancer radiation therapy? This is one of the most asked questions by cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy. And it is an excellent question.

    This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

    We all know about the connection between food and health. A cancer diagnosis is a severe shock. It triggers an intense desire to do all that we can to fight. So, of course, we ask about nutrition and cancer.

    And good nutrition is key to fighting cancer. Scientists know that. Doctors know that. Dietitians, especially, know this. And you know it too. That is why you are here reading my article.

    Most of us know, at least in a general sense, what eating healthy means. But can we use foods to help fight cancer? The answer is a resounding YES!

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    Eating Well After Treatment

    Most eating-related side effects of cancer treatments go away after treatment ends. But some side effects can last for some time. If this happens to you, talk to your cancer care team and work out a plan to manage the problem.

    As you begin to feel better, you may have questions about eating a healthier diet. Just as you wanted to go into treatment with the best nutrition that your diet could give you, youll want to do the best for yourself at this important time, too. Eating well will help you regain your strength and energy, rebuild tissue, and feel better overall.

    A Healthy Diet For Radiation Therapy

    The Benefits of Eating Nutrient

    As one of the most common cancer treatment options, radiation therapy is used to shrink tumors and stop the growth of cancerous cells. Similar to other treatment solutions, radiation therapy can make individuals with cancer become fatigued or disinterested in eating, among other side-effects. Thats why its important to maintain a healthy diet during radiation therapy. If you or a loved one are undergoing radiation therapy, RCCA can help you find a nutritious diet for maintaining your health during and after treatment.

    • 1/2cup ice- cream premium, 1tablespoon chocolate syrup

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    Quality Proteins For Radiotherapy Patients

    Radiation is breaking down and killing active cells, both cancer cells and some of the healthy cells in your body, unfortunately. We want the cancer cells to die and never repair themselves. But we want all the other non-cancerous cells to regenerate and heal. To do this those cells need you to eat high quality proteins.

    A radiation-friendly diet will contain more protein than normal. Some studies suggest that radiation patients should eat high protein and low carbohydrate levels, similar to Keto and Atkins diets. High amounts of dietary proteins are linked to better radiation therapy outcomes.

    The best protein in a radiation-friendly diet is fish. Salmon, mackerel, and tuna are some of the best proteins you can eat. Try to eat fish a couple of times a week, if you can.

    But you shouldnt eat fish every day. So, you will need other healthy protein choices.

    Radiation-Friendly Healthy Proteins

    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.

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    Diet During Radiation Therapy: The Fundamentals

    Including these 5 components in a healthy diet during radiation therapy is a recipe for a swift recovery with fewer side effects. Radiation therapy can change how a patients body accepts certain foods and uses nutrients. Each radiation therapy patient reacts differently to treatment but here are the basic guidelines to develop a diet while undergoing radiation therapy for cancer:

  • Pay attention to your side effects and how they affect your appetite. Discuss the changes with your doctor.
  • Plan ahead for changes to your diet.
  • Focus on nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean proteins. Avoid saturated fats, sugar, salt, and alcohol.
  • Change your eating habits and times. Eat smaller meals more frequently.
  • Stay hydrated. Water is best but there are other healthy options.
  • Avoid Highly Acidic & Spicy Foods

    How to Eat During Cancer Treatment

    Radiation to the pelvis and abdomen can cause intestinal damage. Radiotherapy to treat head, neck and chest area can cause throat damage. And some treatments can cause damage to the mouth, leaving patients with open sores. Acidic and spicy foods are not good to eat if you experience these types of side effects.

    Tomatoes and citrus fruits are listed as a good foods that help fight cancer. Yes, they contain a powerhouse of nutrients and anti-oxidants. But they arent good for radiation patients who suffer from digestive issues and mouth pain.

    Similarly, hot peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical that can help kill cancer cells. But only eat these if you are feeling well. Maybe leave them for a few weeks after your radiation treatments are done. My radiation side effects extended for weeks after treatments were completed.

    If any foods bother you, dont eat them.

    Keep trying to find foods that you can eat, a little at a time.

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    About Nutrition During Cancer Treatment

    Good nutrition is very important for people with cancer. There may be some changes you can make now that will help you during treatment. Start by following a healthy diet. This can make you stronger, help you maintain a healthy weight, and help you fight infection. It may even help you prevent or manage some side effects of treatment.

    Once you start treatment, it may become hard to follow your usual diet. You may need to liberalize your diet to get the nutrition you need. There currently isnt enough research to know that restrictive diets are safe for people who have cancer.

    The most important thing is to make sure you get the calories and protein you need to keep your body strong during your treatment. Because of that, some of the information in this resource may seem very different from diet guidelines you usually follow. If you have questions, talk with your clinical dietitian nutritionist.

    A Recommended Sample Menu

    Following is a days sample of foods to eat during radiation treatment:


    • 1 cup of oatmeal with 8 ounces of whole milk, 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1 tablespoon butter
    • 4oz Ensure/ Boost Plus


    • 4oz pudding that includes whole milk
    • 4oz Ensure/ Boost Plus


    • 1cup of cheese with 1/2cup of mandarin oranges similar fruit
    • 2scrambled eggs with 1tablespoon butter or oil


    • 1/2cup of canned fruit, heavy syrup together with 2tablespoon heavy or whipped cream
    • 8oz Ensure/ Boost Plus


    • 1cup chicken soup, 1tablespoon added oil, and 1 2tablespoons protein powder or milk powder
    • 8oz Ensure/ Boost Plus


    • 1/2cup ice- cream – premium, 1tablespoon chocolate syrup

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    More Things To Avoid During Your Radiation Therapy Foods

    Its important to note before diving into this section Only your doctor should advise/prescribe a specific diet for each patient based on their individual situation. Consult your doctor for any and all dietary questions.

    This is a common topic and a familiar question asked by those undergoing radiation therapy:

    What foods should I avoid during radiation?

    Food can go a long way towards easing side effects of radiation therapy, as well as aiding in the fight against cancer itself. And while there are plenty of foods that WILL help your body throughout your treatment, there a plenty you should steer clear of as well.

    Foods To Eat During Chemotherapy If Your Appetite Is Increased

    25 best Prostate Radiation Therapy images on Pinterest

    Some of the drugs given alongside chemotherapy, such as steroids, can increase your appetite. If youre worried about gaining weight:

    • Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
    • Choose low-fat foods and drinks
    • Watch out for the sugar content of food including some diet foods
    • Avoid sugary drinks

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    Nutrition During Radiation Therapy Treatment: What Patients Should Know

    Many cancer patients lose weight unexpectedly during radiation therapy because they struggle with side effects caused from treatment. Maintaining proper nutrition during radiation therapy can increase your chances of successful treatment and improve your quality of life during and after treatment.

    We spoke with senior clinical dietician Haley Deas to answer common nutrition questions asked by patients facing radiation therapy. Heres what she had to share.

    How important is protein during radiation therapy?

    Getting the right amount of protein is very important during radiation treatment. Each meal or snack should have some source of protein. This will help spare lean muscle mass while repairing damage from radiation.

    Some good protein-rich foods to try are:

    If youre having trouble eating solid foods, try meal replacement drinks to make sure you get enough protein.

    How can I stay hydrated during radiation therapy?

    Staying hydrated makes side effects less severe and lowers your chances of missing or delaying cancer treatments. Its important to avoid dehydration during treatment to protect your organs from long-term damage. Our goal is for patients to drink enough liquids to allow for normal body functions.

    All non-alcoholic beverages count toward keeping you hydrated. If you dont enjoy drinking water, try flavored waters or waters infused with fruit or vegetables to improve the taste. The average radiation therapy patient needs 8 to 12 cups of water per day.

    Foods You Should Eat While Having Radiotherapy

    Radiation treatment has many adverse effects including extreme loss of weight as well as dehydration. This gets even worse when a patient is undergoing radiation treatment for neck or head cancers. To mitigate these negative effects, and maintain healthy weight, you need to eat foods that will provide your body with as many nutrients as possible.

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    Food And Symptom Journal

    Another way to be an active partner with your health care team is to keep a food and symptom journal. It will help you to track what you eat and your side effects. Sharing the journal with your health care team will help them to manage your treatment and recommend the healthiest diet for you.Food and Symptom Journal

    Prevalence Of Bowel Symptoms

    Foods to Eat During Radiation Treatment

    Diarrhoea was the most prevalent symptom during the acute phase, 76% in the NIG and 69% in the SCG reported at least quite a bit of diarrhoea .4). Other symptoms rated quite a bit during the acute phase were limitations to daily activities due to bowel symptoms and bloated abdomen. Bloated abdomen was also the most common symptom during the late phase. Blood in stools was less prevalent in the NIG compared with the SCG during the acute and the late phase. There were no differences between the groups regarding the self-reported data on other bowel symptoms, or use of medication due to bowel symptoms during or after RT .

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    Nutrition Is One Tool To Fight Cancer

    Since my own cancer diagnosis in 2013, I have been reading scientific and medical journals to find foods that could help me. I wanted to fight my breast cancer with everything I had. And nutrition was one of the tools I could use.

    I am not alone. Scientists also want to find out how foods play a role in cancer and cancer therapies.

    There is a lot of information out there about foods and ways of eating that can help make cancer treatments more effective. Most of these studies are with chemotherapy. But if you look carefully, there are some studies on foods and radiation therapy too.

    Choose High Fiber Foods

    • Choose whole grains, dried beans, fruits, and vegetables.
    • Reduce saturated fats from red meat and processed meats. Choose low-fat dairy products instead.
    • Eat dairy foods, calcium-fortified juices, broccoli, canned salmon, and sardines.
    • Eat foods high in folate such as orange juice, dried beans, spinach, broccoli, and fortified cereals and breads.

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    Stretching The Gullet Oesophagus

    Radiotherapy to the head and neck area can cause the top of your gullet to narrow. This may be shown on a videofluoroscopy. You may be offered a quick procedure to make swallowing easier. A doctor puts a tube down into the gullet to stretch it. This makes more space for food and fluid to pass through. You can have this done as an outpatient.

    You usually have a local anaesthetic for this procedure. But it is sometimes done under general anaesthetic. Your doctor can tell you what the possible benefits and risks are.

    Listen To What Your Body Is Telling You

    Top 7 foods items to eat during Radiation Therapy

    Most patients experience little or no side effects during cancer treatment, while some experience any of a number of side effects. Side effects can occur the same day or after treatment.

    Radiotherapy can come with side effects such as lack of appetite, taste changes, difficulty chewing and swallowing, and intestinal problems like diarrhea and nausea, says Lara.

    Thats because while radiation therapy mostly affects cancerous cells, it can impact healthy cells as well. When good cells are affected, patients may experience various side effects.

    The location of the body targeted by radiation therapy can cause different side effects including:

    • nausea/vomiting

    Throughout your treatment, listen to your body and adjust your diet according to what it is telling you. You may find only some foods taste good on a given day. Be flexible and make adjustments to the foods you eat during radiation treatment.

    Do not approach radiation treatment with a strict food plan, says Komar. Instead, listen to your body and take it one week at a time.

    Your radiation diet may include switching to a bland diet or adding lots of flavorful foods to your meals. Tell your doctor if you begin to experience any side effects from your radiation therapy.

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    When Is Radiation Therapy Used

    Radiation therapy can be used to treat all stages of breast cancer.

    Pregnant women should not have radiation therapy because it can harm the unborn baby. Read about Treatment for Breast Cancer During Pregnancy.

    Radiation therapy after lumpectomy

    Radiation therapy is recommended for most people who have lumpectomy to remove breast cancer. Lumpectomy is sometimes called breast-conserving surgery. The goal of radiation after lumpectomy is to destroy any individual cancer cells that may have been left in the breast after the tumor was removed. This reduces the risk of the cancer coming back and the risk of passing away from breast cancer.

    Heres a good analogy for understanding the role of radiation therapy after surgery:If you drop a glass on the kitchen floor, you must first sweep up all of the big pieces of glass and throw them away you can think of breast surgery in this way, says Marisa Weiss, M.D., founder and chief medical officer of and director of breast radiation oncology at Lankenau Medical Center. Radiation therapy is like vacuuming the area after you sweep, getting into the corners and under the furniture, to get rid of any tiny shards of glass that might be left behind.

    Radiation therapy after mastectomy

    Radiation therapy may be recommended after mastectomy to destroy any cancer cells that may be left behind after the surgery. During mastectomy, its difficult for surgeons to take out every cell of breast tissue.

    Nutrition Tips To Follow:

    • Try to eat frequently in small portions. Split the main three meals into 6 or 7 small meals.
    • Fruit milkshakes can attract you to eat more than fruit. So, change the form of what you want to eat in an interesting way.
    • Use a straw to sip drinks. It will be helpful if you have a sore mouth or sore throat.
    • Take sugar-free mints, candies, ginger candies or gum, which keeps the pleasant taste in the mouth when you have nausea.

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    Benefits Of Good Nutrition During Cancer Treatment

    When youre healthy, eating enough food to get the nutrients and calories you need is not usually a problem. Most nutrition guidelines stress eating lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products limiting the amount of red meat you eat, especially meats that are processed or high in fat cutting back on fat, sugar, alcohol, and salt and staying at a healthy weight. But when youre being treated for cancer, these things can be hard to do, especially if you have side effects or just dont feel well.

    Good nutrition is especially important if you have cancer because both the illness and its treatments can change the way you eat. They can also affect the way your body tolerates certain foods and uses nutrients.

    During cancer treatment you might need to change your diet to help build up your strength and withstand the effects of the cancer and its treatment. This may mean eating things that arent normally recommended when you are in good health. For instance, you might need high-protein, high-calorie foods to keep up your weight, or thick, cool foods like ice cream or milk shakes because sores in your mouth and throat are making it hard to eat anything. The type of cancer, your treatment, and any side effects you have must be considered when trying to figure out the best ways to get the nutrition your body needs.

    • Lower your risk of infection.
    • Heal and recover faster.

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