Nutrition During Cancer Treatment


-Guest post by David Haas, Director of Awareness at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

Many side effects of cancer treatment can inhibit your ability to get proper nutrition. Of course, good nutrition is an important part of any recovery plan for cancer patients. How can you get the nutrients your body needs in order to heal while going through this ordeal? Following is a list of a few symptoms experienced by many cancer patients along with some dietary advice that might help to alleviate those symptoms.


Many cancer patients experience severe fatigue. This may be caused by chemotherapy, the cancer itself, anemia or the emotional aspects of dealing with the disease. Regardless of the cause, several food options can help you increase your overall energy.

Be sure to get plenty of protein from sources such as eggs, dairy, whole grains, fish and lean meat. Staying hydrated will also help you maintain your energy level. Drink a minimum of eight cups of caffeine-free fluids each day. Purified drinking water is the best option, but you can also enjoy nutritious juice, herbal teas, clear broth or milk.

Finally, add a good multivitamin to your daily regimen that contains 100 percent or more of the daily recommended allowances of most common nutrients. If you have questions about the right multivitamin to take, check with your doctor or nutritionist for help in choosing one that will provide easily digestible and accessible nutrients for your body.

Nausea from Chemo or Radiation

If you are experiencing intense nausea brought on by cancer treatment, take a tip from Mom. Keep soda crackers nearby to help settle your stomach, especially when you wake in the morning or when rising from a nap.

If your nausea sets in or becomes worse at the smell of food, steer away from hot dishes and toward cooler food options. Mild fruits and vegetables such as peaches, green beans or carrots may help. You may also be able to enjoy sherbet or flavored ices, cold cereal and pudding.


The difficulty many cancer patients have in getting proper nutrition often leads to anorexia. If you are struggling with severe weight loss or simply finding it difficult to eat, try to make the experience as pleasant as possible. Play soothing music during meals. Spend time eating with friends and family. Eat slowly and savor your food as much as possible. Enjoy high-calorie snacks including nuts, cheese, peanut butter and other things with plenty of protein.

Anorexia is a serious issue. If you continue to struggle, find out if you can get nutritional counseling from your cancer treatment center or an associated organization.

During your fight with cancer, you need to be as fit as possible. Getting proper nutrition can help.

–Photo: cornwallcancercare

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