What is it?
Cancer Council recommends people with cancer follow the Australian Dietary Guidelines, which give advice on what you need to eat and how much. The guidelines recommend eating a wide variety of foods from all five food groups every day:
- plenty of vegetables of different types and colours, and legumes/beans
- grains, mostly wholegrains, such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa and barley
- lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans
- milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives – mostly reduced fat.
Why use it?
A balanced diet will help keep your body healthy and contribute to your wellbeing.
What to expect?
For some people, it is not always possible to eat well during treatment. You can work with an Accredited Practising Dietitian who can ensure you meet your nutritional needs, give you tailored advice on your nutrition and coping with any eating problems you may experience, and assist in managing side effects.
What is the evidence?
There is clinical evidence to show that eating a healthy, balanced diet can reduce people’s cancer risk and help people recover from cancer treatment. For more information see Nutrition and cancer, or call Cancer Council 13 11 20.
A variety of practitioners can offer nutritional advice, and they can be described by many different terms. The term nutritionist refers to both qualified nutrition scientists and naturopathic nutritionists. Some dietitians also call themselves nutritionists. A nutritionist should have at least a diploma of nutrition, or equivalent, from a university or naturopathic college. An Accredited Practising Dietitian has a university qualification in science, nutrition and dietetics.
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Suzanne Grant, Senior Acupuncturist, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; A/Prof Craig Hassed, Senior Lecturer, Department of General Practice, Monash University, VIC; Mara Lidums, Consumer; Tanya McMillan, Consumer; Simone Noelker, Physiotherapist and Wellness Centre Manager, Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre, VIC; A/Prof Byeongsang Oh, Acupuncturist, University of Sydney and Northern Sydney Cancer Centre, NSW; Sue Suchy, Consumer; Marie Veale, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland, QLD; Prof Anne Williams, Nursing Research Consultant, Centre for Nursing Research, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, and Chair, Health Research, School of Health Professions, Murdoch University, WA.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum
Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment