Diet for Cancer

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Nutrition Guidelines & Diets for Cancer

The best way for a person to meet his or her nutritional needs is to eat a wide and balanced variety of foods. Inability to maintain good nutrition, however, is a common problem for people with cancer, because the disease process and treatments can interfere with the ability and willingness to eat. Malnutrition is therefore a complication that many people with cancer encounter.

Managing Common Cancer-Related Conditions & Side Effects

If you have cancer, you may experience a range of specific eating problems, including nausea and vomiting, owing to certain opportunistic infections and/or to side effects of medications and treatments. Many dietary and behavioral tips are available to help you maintain your nutritional intake while lessening side effects and the most common discomforts caused by your illness. Consult the following links for specific information:

Nutrition Tips for Treatment Days

If you are a person with cancer, you are likely to undergo treatment, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation that will affect your eating habits and possibly the level of your nutritional intake. At the start of a course of treatment, you may encounter little, if any, discomfort and may be able to follow a normal pattern of eating. As your treatment continues, however, some side effects may prevent you from getting the nutrients that your body needs.

The following guidelines may help you to maintain proper nutritional intake during the course of your treatment:

  • Instead of eating three large meals daily, try smaller, more-frequent meals; this will help to minimize nausea.

  • Avoid foods that are high in fat, which tend to remain in the stomach longer than other foods and may cause nausea. Limit your intake of bacon, bologna, butter, chips, cream, cream sauces, donuts, fried foods, gravies, hot dogs, ice cream, margarine, mayonnaise, peanuts, sausage, whole milk, and other high-fat foods.

On treatment days, eat a small meal two hours before treatment and take a snack with you to treatment.

Also try to have some of the following food and drink, which require little or no preparation, available throughout the day: broth-based soups, canned fruit, crackers, fruit juice, fruit sorbet, gelatin, popsicles, soda (regular, not diet), and tea.

Boosting Calorie & Protein Intake for People With Cancer

The first priority of any diet should be to meet the body's calorie and protein needs. If a person does not eat enough food to meet these needs, he or she will start to lose weight, muscle mass, strength, and physical stamina.

If you have cancer, you may experience difficulties in trying to follow a regular diet. Because the disease process and treatments can interfere with the ability or willingness to eat, people with cancer are sometimes at risk of severe protein-calorie malnutrition, which is a major cause of morbidity and mortality.

Protein-calorie malnutrition is caused by inadequate intake or digestion of the nutrients necessary to meet metabolic requirements. Such malnutrition may result in progressive wasting, weakening of the immune system, debilitation, therapy intolerance, and ultimately death.

Medical experts therefore emphasize the importance of providing the body with the protein and calories -- as well as the vitamins and minerals -- that it needs.

Beware of fad diets and products that promise to "cure" your illness. Special diets or fad regimens rarely provide the adequate calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals required by your body.

Even if you are overweight, your primary goal should be to maintain your weight by improving your dietary habits. Try weighing yourself weekly, on the same day and at the same time of day, using the same scale. If you find that you are losing weight, adjust your diet to include more calories.

A first step is to be sure that you eat breakfast every day; because you may become progressively tired as the day passes (in some cases owing to medication), a healthful meal at the start of the day will help you to keep your strength and energy levels up.

Once you are familiar with ways to adjust your diet, you will be better able to maintain a nutritional balance in your daily eating and, in turn, to promote overall good health.

Many simple and safe food-preparation strategies are available to help you increase both your calorie and your protein consumption. Information about recipes and about a specific diet and menu is available as well.

The above opinionated views and information serves to educated and informed consumer. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. It should not replaced professional advise and consultation. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions

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Diet for Dietary Fiber
Eating Well Diet
Elderly Diet
Healthy Diet
High Protein/Calories Diet
High Fiber Diet
Low Fat, Salt, Sugar Diet
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Low Fiber Diet
Low Salt Diet
Low Sugar Low Fat Diet
Ostomy Diet
Peptic Ulcer Diet
Stomach Sugery Diet
Vegetatian Diet

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