Cancer And Nutrition: What To Eat When Dealing With These 10 Treatment Side Effects

Nutrition is a key element in every cancer-patient’s disease-fighting strategy. Each person’s ideal nutrition will of course vary based on treatment and cancer type, but eating well can help you maintain your strength, build up your body’s store of nutrients, lower infection risk, and heal faster.

Your care team can talk to you about what specific nutrients you should focus on based on your treatment plan, but getting enough calories may be a bigger concern than where your calories are coming from. Cancer patients often need extra calories and protein to maintain their weight and strength.

The challenge is that cancer treatments offer an array of side effects that make it difficult to eat healthy—or to eat at all. Below is a list of 10 of the more common cancer treatment side-effects and how to eat well while dealing with them. Be sure to let us know if you have any tips to add!

How to eat when you are experiencing…


10. Nausea/vomiting

If you experience nausea and/or vomiting, be sure to tell your care team as there are some medications that can help. Also try:

  • Eating small meals or snacks throughout the day instead of large meals
  • Avoiding strong odors both in your food and in your environment. Eat where there is fresh air and avoid warm, stuffy rooms.
  • Eating dry foods like toast, cereal, and crackers.
  • Going for bland, soft foods like oatmeal and soup, and avoid spicy and strongly flavored foods.
  • If you’re vomiting, dehydration can be a concern. Take small sips of water or other liquids throughout the day to stay hydrated.
  • After meals, try rest sitting up rather than lying down.
  • Go ahead and eat the foods that do appeal to you, and worry less about eating the “right” foods.

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Katie Taylor started writing in 5th grade and hasn't stopped since. Her favorite place to pen a phrase is in front of her fireplace with a cup of tea, but she's been known to write in parking lots on the backs of old receipts if necessary. She and her husband live cozily in the Pacific Northwest enjoying rainy days and Netflix.
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