Guidelines for Nutrition During and After Cancer Treatment

It might be difficult to eat healthfully and obtain the necessary nutrients while you have cancer. Eating a balanced diet and finding strategies to keep a healthy weight are crucial. You ought to sip a lot of water as well.

An appetite and weight shift can occasionally be brought on by the side effects of cancer and cancer treatment. You may lose weight if certain therapies cause you to desire to eat less. Weight gain is a side effect of some cancer treatments. It’s not an issue if your weight fluctuates slightly. On the other hand, excessive weight loss or increase can have an impact on your health throughout cancer treatment. You can maintain your health as much as possible by eating well.

General dietary guidelines for cancer patients

The following general dietary guidelines are advised when receiving cancer treatment:

  1. Obtain necessary nutrition. These consist of water, lipids, carbs, and protein. You can learn how to receive the nourishment you need by reading the information below.
  2. Try to be as busy as you can. For instance, go for a daily stroll. Even if you are not gaining weight, excessive sitting or sleeping might cause you to lose muscle mass and increase body fat.
  3. Discuss your weight with your medical team. Make sure you and other members of your cancer care team have regular conversations. During therapy, weight fluctuations, such as excessive weight gain or loss, may have an adverse effect on your health. Variations in your weight could also indicate that you are not receiving the proper or adequate nutrients. Your healthcare team can assist in determining the cause and the best course of action, which may involve consulting a nutritionist.

A Licenced Dietitian: how may they be of assistance?

Nutrition counselling may be able to assist you if you are experiencing difficulties obtaining the nourishment you require. A knowledgeable professional might be recommended by your healthcare team. A registered dietitian (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) having prior experience in working with cancer patients is what is meant by this.

A nutritionist can assist you in developing a meal plan that satisfies your unique dietary requirements. They might advise:

  • Minerals or vitamins that you require more of
  • Snacks and nutritional supplements
  • If necessary, additional nutrition support such as a feeding tube

Nutrition and side effects of treatment

Cancer treatment frequently results in physical side effects, such as diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, and taste changes, that might impact appetite and weight. Eating and drinking may be difficult as a result. These pointers might be useful.

  1. If you’re not sed to drinking lot of water, try adding additional liquid to your meals and other beverages. For instance, have tea, milk, or milk alternatives while eating soup or watermelon. Another choice is a sports drink. There are sports drinks without added sugar if you are watching your blood sugar. Alternatively, you can sip fruit juice-flavored water.
  2. Try adding some tasty herbs and spices if the food tastes dull. Try ingredients like lemon, garlic, cayenne, dill, or rosemary, for instance. On the other hand, excessive acidity (from lemons or other citrus) or spicy heat (from cayenne or other hot peppers) may be countered if your mouth hurts.
  3. Instead of eating three substantial meals a day, eat several small ones. To ensure that the smaller meals tally up to the necessary number of calories, aim for six.
  4. If you’ve had enough of meat, try getting your protein from other meals. Try things like fish, eggs, cheese, beans, nuts, nut butters, tofu, and shakes or smoothies that are high in protein.
  5. Try fresh citrus fruits, chew gum, or suck on mints or lemon drops if you taste something metallic in your tongue. When cooking, use nonmetal pots and pans and plastic utensils. Prior to eating, consider cleaning your teeth or rinsing your mouth.
  6. Smooth the texture of meats and vegetables in a food processor or blender if you have gum disease or mouth sores. Add butter, light sauces, gravy, or cream for more richness and calories. Try creating smoothies or juicing. A sore mouth may be relieved by the additional moisture.

Notifying your healthcare staff about your mental state is particularly crucial, since psychological side effects may potentially be involved. Inform your healthcare staff if any side effects are making it difficult for you to eat or drink. They can assist in certain ways, including by writing a prescription for medicine to ease particular adverse effects.

Do I need to take nutritional supplements?

Consult your cancer care team before beginning any dietary supplements while receiving cancer treatment. Taking a multivitamin or other over-the-counter supplements falls under this category.

If you are unable to obtain adequate nourishment from your diet, taking little amounts of vitamins and minerals may be beneficial. However, depending on your cancer treatment plan, taking large amounts of any particular supplement may be hazardous. Even if it is suggested by another medical professional, this is accurate.

Always consult your doctor and the cancer care team before taking any supplements for your own safety. Ensure that they are aware of whatever you are consuming.

Dr. Ashish Goel has 25 years experience in oncology and oncosurgery. He is the best cancer surgeon and oncologist in Noida, Delhi, NCR. He has a keen interest in Breast Oncology, Head and Neck Surgery and Thoracic Oncology. He is equally trained in treating Gastrointestinal, Genitourinary and Gynaecological cancers. Dr Goel is currently Director and HoD Surgical Oncology at Jaypee Hospital, Noida.