Most eating-related side effects associated with radiation,
chemotherapy, or other treatments go away after cancer treatment
ends. If you have had side effects, you should gradually begin to
feel better, and your interest in food and mealtimes will come
back. Sometimes, though, side effects persist, especially weight
loss. If this happens to you, talk to your doctor and work out a
plan together for how to address the problem.
After cancer treatment ends and you're feeling better, you may
want to think again about the traditional guidelines for healthy
eating. Just as you wanted to go into treatment with all the
reserves that such a diet could give you, you'll want to do the
best for yourself at this important time. There's no current
research that suggests that the foods you eat will prevent your
cancer from recurring. But, we do know that eating right will help
you regain your strength, rebuild tissue, and help you feel well.
Here are the fundamentals:
Focus on eating a variety of foods every day. No one food
contains all the nutrients you need.
Emphasize fruits and vegetables. Raw or cooked vegetables,
fruits, and fruit juices provide the vitamins, minerals, and fiber
Emphasize breads and cereals, especially the whole grain
varieties, such as whole wheat bread, oats, and brown rice. These
foods are good sources of complex carbohydrates, vitamins and
minerals, and fiber.
Go easy on fat, salt, sugar, alcohol, and smoked or pickled
foods. Choose low-fat milk products, and small portions (no more
than 6-7 oz. a day) of lean meat and poultry without skin. Try
lower-fat cooking methods, such as broiling, steaming, and
Some patients need to have treatments that last a long time.
Others may have surgery to remove part of their stomach or
intestines. These patients may have ongoing eating-related
concerns. If this is your situation, talk to your doctor and a
registered dietitian. He or she can give you more information about
the long-term issues that you will deal with and can help you
develop an individual diet plan.
Ways to Get Back Into
Even if your treatment is over and you're feeling much better, you
still may not feel completely back to your old self. Here are some
ways to help you ease back to regular meals and mealtimes, without
Make simple meals using familiar, easy-to-prepare recipes.
Cook enough for two or three meals, then freeze the remainder
for a later meal.
Take advantage of the supermarket's salad bar and prepared
foods to make cooking easier.
Think about ways you used to make mealtime special and try them
Don't be afraid to ask a friend or family member for help with
cooking or shopping.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a