Nutrition for Special Groups 3(3+0)

Lesson 40 : Cancer


Chemotherapy is often called just "chemo." It is the use of strong drugs to kill cancer cells. The drugs are most often taken by mouth or put into the bloodstream. Chemo drugs can damage both healthy cells and cancer cells. Cells most likely to be injured are bone marrow, hair, and the lining of the digestive tract. (The digestive tract is all the parts of the body use to eat, digest, and excrete the remains of food. It includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, intestines, rectum, and anus.) Side effects will depend on what kind of chemo drugs you take and how you take them.

Chemotherapy Diet
Diet plays a very important role for cancer patients who is taking chemotherapy treatment. A chemo help regarding good nutrition is essential for the patients undergoing through mental, physical disturbance of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy and good diet sounds like a typical combination for the patients because many patients frequently report altered reaction to smells, textures and tastes during the chemotherapy. During the chemotherapy the diet which is once patient's favorites then appeared as unappealing and many times patient just don't feel like eating.

Diet tips for chemotherapy patients

  1. Take a healthy diet
    For cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy it is very important to take a healthy diet because body works overtime against cancer and it is necessary to repair healthy cells damaged from chemotherapy treatment.
    Do small exercise before and after meal. eg. Walking etc.
    Avoid fat rich diet
    Make your schedule for the day and strictly follow it regularly

  2. Plan chemo diet helps better
    Small quantity of meal at small intervals because nausea and poor appetite lowers intake of food. Eat 5-6 meals per day this will help to sneak in extra calories and protein. Eat high calorie and protein rich food i.e. like butter added snacks, fortified milkshakes, puddings and custards, and milk-based desserts, salads, rice, stuffing, sandwiches, desserts, breakfasts.

  3. Protein rich chemo diet helps better

    Liquid Diet- Cancer patients can easily deal with the nausea and loss of appetite with liquid diet. They can drink high calorie protein rich beverages such as fruit juice, cheese soup, coffee, tea, fresh or frozen plain yogurt, honey, milk, smoothies, milk mixed with a powdered meal replacement etc. If the patient is allowed to have soy products in diet then he can also take cubed silken tofu.

    Protein rich Diet- Protein boosts the strength of body and helps maintaining and rebuilds the cells and tissues affected by the treatment. A protein rich diet may include large portion of beans, nuts, cheese, fat free milk, tofu and other Soy stuff, edamame etc.

    Soft Diet- Chemotherapy can cause tooth pain, gum pain or may be sore throat, that's why patients taking chemotherapy may stick to soft meals like milkshakes, yogurt and pudding. Boil a serving of pasta until it is mushy, and then mix it with a non-acidic cream sauce or a cup of pureed vegetables, such as carrots or butternut squash. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

    Cold Diet- Sometimes nausea of cancer patients may trouble them by the smell of food. In such case serving cold food may help them eat more. Freeze fruits, cold soups, gazpacho can be easier to ingest. Frozen yogurt, cold custard milkshakes, ice cream are excellent food in such cases.

  4. Be hygienic to prevent infections
    Cancer patients have high risk of infections therefore some precautionary measures should be taken. These measures are:
    • Before cooking and eating make sure that your hands are washed.
    • Make sure that your utensils and knives are cleaned before cooking.
    • Refrigerate food whenever possible. Don't keep it lying out in the open.

  5. Foods which should be strictly avoided during chemotherapy
    • Hot, spicy foods (i.e. hot pepper, curry, and Cajun spice mix).
    • Fatty, greasy or fried foods.
    • Very sweet, sugary foods.
    • Large meals
    • Foods with strong smells (foods that are warm tend to smell stronger).
    • Eating or drinking quickly
    • Drinking beverages with meals
    • Lying down after taking diet.
    • Very sweet, sugary foods.
Last modified: Thursday, 10 May 2012, 6:34 AM