What to Eat During Treatment


Cancer patients often receive conflicting advice about what they can and should eat during treatment. These tips provide straightforward advice concerning diet during treatment.

  • If you are neutropenic (your immune system is suppressed), you cannot eat fresh fruit and vegetables. Canned fruit and vegetables are ok.
  • If you are suffering from nausea and vomiting, follow the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast). These foods are bland and easy to digest. Avoid milk and cheese products and fried foods. Avoid any strong-smelling food.
  • If you are vomiting and suffering from diarrhea, drink gatorade or pedialyte to restore your electrolytes.
  • Lemon drops, Cream Savers and pocket pack breath strips can help with the metallic taste of chemotherapy.
  • Avoid eating your favorite foods during chemotherapy, as food can taste different during chemotherapy and you can learn an aversion to food you eat during chemotherapy.
  • If you are suffering from mouth sores, avoid crackers and acidic or spicy food.
  • Drink plenty of water to flush your kidneys and help minimize the side effects, including nausea.
  • High protein food, like scrambled eggs, fish, hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, turkey, may help. But this may not work if you are suffering from nausea.
  • A liquid diet may help, such as soup broth and jello.

It also helps to experiment and eat what you can. Sometimes the only food you can handle breaks all the rules. At one point in my treatment the only food I could eat was Breyer's Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.

Copyright © 2005-2018 by Mark Kantrowitz. All rights reserved.

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