Eating During Cancer Treatment

Many patients with cancer, especially when undergowing chemotherapy or radiotherapy, suffer from loss of appetite, nausea, and other probelms in their digestive system.

Many of these problems can be helped with the following tips:

  • Plan your major meal when you experience the least nausea and vomiting. This is often the case early in the morning.
  • Eat small frequent meals throughout the day.
  • Let someone cook for you, because cooking odors might provoke your nausea.
  • If you’re suffeing from mouth sores or if you have difficulty swallowing, eat bland and pureed foods, like puddings, shakes, smoothies, mashed potatoes and rice, or soups.
  • Avoid salty, spicey, and acidic foods.
  • Take zink-rich foods, like nuts, beans, and mushrooms . Zink will help your sores heal faster.
  • If you have nausea, try chewing on ice chips or eating/drinking ginger.
  • If diarrhea is a problem, avoid fatty foods, raw fruits, and whole grain products. Instead, eat bland foods like rice and cooked apples.
  • Rest after eating in a sitting position.
  • Maintain your healthy dental hygiene: if brushing is too painful due to the mouth sores, try washing with a weak solution containing hydrogen peroxide.
  • Make meals visually attractive and in a nice setting.
  • Vitamin and supplement intake is to be avoided since there are concerns that vitamins might blunt the effect of chemotherapy against cancer cells and supplements might increase toxicity to the liver and kidneys. There are exceptions and some chemotherapy drugs specifically require a vitamin to reduce side effects. Ask your doctor for more information.
  • Regarding the fluid requirement on the chemothreapy days: Some chemotherapies require fluid to be taken before treatment to prevent kidney problems. Other chemotherapies require fluid to be taken afterwards to reduce bladder inflammation. Check with your doctor.

Wishing you a speedy recovery!

Alyaa Gad