Managing side effects of stomach cancer

Stomach cancer and its treatment can cause many side effects. Some of these side effects are permanent and may affect your ability to eat, digest foods and absorb essential nutrients. Here we explain typical side effects and how to manage them.

After treatment, some foods you used to eat may cause digestive problems. You will need to try different foods and ways of eating to find out what works for you. You may need to change your eating habits, such as eating smaller meals more often throughout the day.

It’s important to make sure you are eating and drinking enough to maintain your weight and avoid malnutrition. If you are eating less than usual it is often recommended that you choose high energy, high protein foods. Previous dietary restrictions and guidelines may be relaxed when you are recovering from treatment. Ask your doctor for a referral to a dietitian with experience in cancer care.

Some people find it difficult to cope emotionally with the changes to their eating habits. You may feel self-conscious or worry about eating in public or with friends. These reactions are natural. It may help to talk about how you feel with your family and friends, or to speak with a counsellor or someone who has been through a similar experience. They may be able to give you advice on how to adjust. It may take time and support to adapt to your new way of eating.

For more on this call Cancer Council 13 11 20, download a booklet from this page, see Nutrition and Cancer, or speak to a Cancer Connect volunteer who has had a similar cancer experience.

Learn more about these side effects:

Listen to a podcast on Appetite Loss and Nausea

This information was last reviewed in September 2017
View who reviewed this content
View our editorial policy

Support services

Life after cancer treatment
Webinars, exercise and nutrition, sexuality programs, and back-to-work support

Need legal and financial assistance?
Pro bono services, financial and legal assistance, and no interest loans

Coping with cancer?
Talk with a health professional or someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum


Cancer information

Nutrition after cancer treatment
Healthy eating habits to help you maintain good nutrition 

Nutrition and cancer help for carersTips for preparing food for someone with cancer

View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends