Eating During Cancer Treatment

Published on September 6, 2016 by HWC Team

Cancer is generally referred to as abnormal growth of cells in any part of the body that can form mass of cells called tumour. Patients suffering with cancer experience loss of appetite, nausea and other digestive problems while undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy. These problems can be treated with the following tips:

• Plan your major meal when you experience the least nausea and vomiting. Early morning meals are beneficial in such cases.
• Eat small frequent meals throughout the day. And avoid cooking as cooking odours might provoke your nausea.
• If you’re suffering 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, spicy, and acidic foods. Take zinc-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 diarrhoea 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.

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 though like in some chemotherapy drugs specifically require a vitamin to reduce side effects. Ask your doctor for more information.

Regarding the fluid requirement on the chemotherapy day: Some chemotherapy require fluid to be taken before treatment to prevent kidney problems. Other chemotherapies require fluid to be taken afterwards to reduce bladder inflammation.

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