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Cancer Treatment Diet

| Date Posted: 6/28/2013 | Author: Mandy McCue

Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, can cause daily discomfort as well as temporarily weaken your immune system. It is important to have a proper diet full of nutrients going into treatment to help combat cancer side effects. Some of the more common side effects are: Cancer Treatment Diet

  • Loss or change of appetite
  • Sore mouth or throat
  • Dry mouth
  • Changes in taste or sell
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Feeling tired
  • Depression

Diet can play a role in managing certain side effects. These needs can vary from person to person.  Gayla Comer, a registered dietitian with FirstHealth’s Cancer Program can help you find the right diet for you and the symptoms you may be experiencing. Here are some general eating and diet tips from the American Cancer Society to help with some common symptoms:

  • Sore mouth or throat
    • Avoid tart, acidic or salty foods, as well as pickled and vinegary foods, tomato-based foods and some canned broths
    • Avoid rough-textured hard foods, like dry toast, crackers, chips nuts, granola and raw fruits and vegetables
    • Choose lukewarm or cold foods that are soothing
    • Stay away from alcohol, caffeine and tobacco
    • Avoid irritating spices like chili powder, cloves, curry, hot sauces, nutmeg and pepper
    • Eat soft creamy foods like cream soups, cheeses, mashed potatoes, yogurt, eggs, custards and pudding
    • Avoid using mouthwashes that contain alcohol
    • Puree or liquefy foods to make them easier to swallow
  • Swallowing problems
    • Eat small, frequent meals
    • Use canned liquid nutritional supplements if you are unable to eat enough food to meet your needs
    • Chop or puree your food
    • Drink 6 to 8 cups of fluids each day
  • Dry mouth
    • Drink 8 to 10 cups of liquids a day
    • Take small bites and chew your food well
    • Eat soft, moist foods
    • Moisten foods with brother, soup, sauces etc.
    • Suck on sugarless candy or chew sugarless gum to stimulate saliva
  • Nausea
    • Eat 6 to 8 snacks or small meals a day
    • Eat dry foods, like crackers or toast
    • Eat foods that do not have a strong odor
    • Eat cool foods instead of hot or spicy foods
    • Avoid foods that are overly sweet, greasy, fried or spicy
    • If you need to rest, sit up or recline with your head raised for at least an hour after eating
    • Sip clear liquids regularly to avoid dehydration
  • Diarrhea
    • Drink plenty of mild, clear, non-carbonated liquids during the day.
    • Eat small, frequent meals and snacks during the day
    • Avoid greasy, fried, spicy or very sweet foods
    • Limit milk product to two cups a day
    • Avoid drinks and foods that cause gas
    • Drink and eat high-sodium food and high-potassium foods
    • Increase soluble-fiber foods
  • Constipation
    • Try eating at the same time every day
    • Try to have a bowel movement at the same time each day
    • Drink 8 to 10 cups of liquid each day
    • Use laxatives only as directed by your doctor
    • If it’s okay with your doctor, eat high-fiber and bulky foods
    • Limit drinks and foods that cause gas
  • Feeling tired
    • Prioritize your activities. Do the most important ones when you the most energy
    • Take short walks or get regular exercise
    • Drink plenty of fluids
    • Make sure you get enough rest
    • Try easier or shorter versions of your usual activities
  • Loss or change of appetite
    • Eat several snacks throughout the day rather than three meals
    • Make eating more enjoyable; more your food look more enjoyable, play your favorite music, watch TV  or eating with someone
    • Be physically active
    • Keep high-calorie, high-protein snacks on hand
    • Eat your favorite foods at any time of the day
    • Be sure to meet your basic calorie needs

It is important to speak with your doctor about any   side effects from treatment you may be experiencing.  FirstHealth Moore regional Hospital’s FirstHealth Cancer Services treats cancer patients in the Pinehurst, Raeford, Sanford, Lumberton, Laurinburg, Troy, and Rockingham regions of North Carolina and beyond.

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