Nutrition and cancer

It’s important to eat well before, during and after treatment for cancer, but it’s not always easy. In this section, you’ll find practical tips and suggestions for managing common eating problems.

Nutrition for people living with cancer book
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Diet during treatment

  • Will this cancer treatment affect what I can eat?
  • Should I be on a special diet? Should I eat only organic foods?
  • Should I avoid any particular food during treatment?
  • What other changes to my diet can I expect?
  • Is it safe to take vitamin supplements?
  • I’d like to try a special diet I’ve heard might help. Is it likely to cause any harm?
  • How can I stay strong during treatment?
  • Should I see a dentist?

Symptoms and side effects

  • Why am I losing/gaining weight?
  • Why am I feeling sick?
  • Why am I so tired?
  • How can I reduce nausea? Will medicine help? When should I be taking anti-nausea medicine?
  • What can I do about mouth ulcers? How long will they take to heal?
  • Why has my sense of taste or smell changed? Will it return to normal?
  • Will these symptoms go away and, if so, when?
  • Are my bowel habits of concern?
  • Can you refer me to a dietitian or speech pathologist for help with swallowing difficulties?

After treatment

  • Do I need to change my diet after treatment ends?
  • Is there a diet that can help me stay cancer-free?
  • How can I get my strength and fitness back?
  • Can you refer me to a dietitian to help with ongoing side effects?

We cannot give advice about the best eating plan for you. You need to discuss this with your 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.

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