Nutrition and cancer
Eating well is important for health and wellbeing. After a cancer diagnosis, good nutrition will help you prepare for and manage treatment and recovery. However, cancer and its treatment can cause a range of eating problems.
This section outlines the guidelines for healthy eating and how to manage side effects that affect nutrition.
Cancer treatment can cause side effects such as fatigue, loss of appetite, changes in taste and smell, chewing and swallowing problems, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea or other types of bowel irritation and heartburn. Although these side effects can make it more challenging to eat well, there are ways to manage them.
During or after cancer treatment you could be more prone to infections and you’ll need to take care preparing, storing and cooking food.
We give tips to help you with all these issues, as well as some simple healthy recipes you can make at home.
We cannot give advice about the best diet for you. You need to discuss this with health professionals such as doctors, nurses and dietitians. However, we hope this information will answer some of your questions and help you think about other questions to ask your treatment team or dietitian.
Learn more about:
- The importance of eating well
- Common questions
- Treatment side effects and nutrition
- Nutrition concerns
- Nutrition and advanced cancer
- Recipes and snacks
- Caring for someone with cancer
- Practical help and information
- Question checklist
Jenelle Loeliger, Head of Nutrition and Speech Pathology Department, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Rebecca Blower, Public Health Advisor, Cancer Prevention, Cancer Council Queensland, QLD; Julia Davenport, Consumer; Irene Deftereos, Senior Dietitian, Western Health, VIC; Lynda Menzies, A/Senior Dietitian – Cancer Care (APD), Sunshine Coast University Hospital, QLD; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Janice Savage, Consumer.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
Click below to download a PDF booklet on this topic.
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Exercise has many benefits both during and after cancer treatment, helping with side effects, speeding up recovery, and improving quality of life
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