Nutrition for Cancer Patients
A healthy diet, regardless of whether you have cancer or not, includes eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products; consuming a moderate amount of low-fat meat and dairy foods; and cutting back on fat, sugar, alcohol, and salt.
Maintaining a healthy diet is essential for the body to optimally perform, and is even more important for cancer patients. A healthy diet can help your body keep up its energy levels, prevent body tissue from deteriorating, re-build tissue, fight off infection and better manage the side effects of treatment.
However, eating well during cancer treatment can be difficult if you experience side effects or feel ill. If this occurs, you may have to adapt your diet as your treatment progresses according to your tolerance for food. The following side effects can affect your ability or desire to eat: loss of appetite, weight gain or loss, sore mouth or throat, dry mouth, dental problems, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and fatigue.
Cancer patients are often encouraged to eat lots of high-calorie, high-protein foods that increase protein such as milk, cheese, and cooked eggs. If you experience weight loss, you may also be advised to eat more sauces and gravies and to include more butter, margarine, or oil in your foods to boost calories. In addition, you may be encouraged to eat fewer high-fiber foods, because fiber can aggravate problems such as diarrhea.
You may or may not have any of these side effects, and most can be controlled and dissipate after treatment ends. Many factors determine whether you will have any and how severe they will be. These factors include the type of cancer, the part of the body affected, the type and length of treatment, and the dose of treatment.
Most side effects can be controlled and most go away after treatment ends. Talk to your prostate cancer care team and nutritionist to determine how to modify your diet to help alleviate or eliminate side effects during prostate surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
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