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Food and Nutrition

  • Introduction

    Nutrition is an important part of your cancer treatment plan. Eating well during treatment will help you to:

    • Prevent or reverse weight loss
    • Fight infections more easily
    • Tolerate any side effects of your treatment more readily
    • Recover as quickly as possible from your treatment
    • Feel stronger and more energetic
  • The key to good nutrition is a balanced diet. Rice and other similar foods should make up the largest portion of your diet, followed by fruit and vegetables, then meat and other foods. High-energy foods can be eaten as a dessert or a snack between meals to boost your energy intake. A healthy balanced diet should be sufficient for you to maintain your nutrition. However, you may need to modify your diet if you have nutrition-related problems during your treatment.

    Examples of side-effects that can be helped by changing your diet include:

    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Diarrhoea
    • Bloatedness and wind
    • Taste changes
    • Mouth and throat problems
    • Loss of appetite
    • Weight loss

    Currently, there is no support for claims that certain foods can cure cancer or that particular foods will make your condition worse. Be careful about special diets that claim to cure cancer, as they can lead to an imbalance of nutrients, causing more health problems. There is no need to eat, or avoid eating, any particular foods. Your dieticians can help you to:

    • Modify your usual diet to suit your current needs
    • Choose appropriate nutritional supplements as needed
    • Evaluate special diets and food products
    • Stay within safe limits if you are taking vitamin and mineral supplements

    You can actively participate in your own treatment through good nutrition. The right food will enhance your health and resistance, and help you to cope with any side effects of treatment.

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