Nutrition During Chemotherapy

What might affect nutrition during chemotherapy, and how should you adjust your diet?

Nutrition can be affected by symptoms experienced due to cancer and cancer treatments, as well as psychological involvement such as depression or anxiety.

For cancer patients, nutrition during chemotherapy isA�important.A�The main goal before, during, and after treatments is to maintain adequate calories for weight maintenance and adequate protein to optimize your immune system, strength, and tolerance to treatments.A� While striving for adequate calories and proteinA�during chemotherapy, try to include a well-balanced diet to minimize nutritional deficiencies, ask your physician or dietitianA�for information about whetherA�a multi-vitamin would be right for you.

For cancer patients, diet and nutrition during chemotherapy mustA�be based onA�what is tolerated by managing symptoms such asA�nausea,A�vomiting,A�diarrhea,A�constipation,taste changes,A�dry mouth,A�mouth pain or sores,A�poorA�appetite,A�early satiety or fullness, andA�fatigue.A� It is important to manage these symptoms while maintaining the goals for adequate calories and protein.

How will treatment affect my ability to eat?a�?a�?

Surgery -A�A high calorie, high protein diet prior to surgery may be indicated to minimize malnutrition.A� Depending on the type of surgery, a typical post-operative diet may include intravenous nutrients and fluid, nutrition via a tube in your nose, stomach or intestines; or a clear liquid diet (juice, tea, coffee, broth, fruit ice, gelatin, Popsicles).A� The diet may progress to a full liquid diet (milk, pudding, cream soup, ice cream, sherbet, hot, cereal, etc.) prior to your regular diet plan.

The diet may need to be advanced slowly after your surgery to wait for proper bowel function or digestion to occur.

ChemotherapyA�may cause side effects that can affect your ability to eatA�and maintain your current level of nutrition.A� These include nausea, vomiting, taste changes, appetite changes, mucositis or mouth sores, fatigue, diarrhea, and/or constipation.

Radiation Therapy.A� The dietary effects of radiation depend on the area of the body that is being radiated.

  • Treatment of head, neck, or chest may cause taste changes, mouth pain, throat pain, diarrhea, dry mouth, dental problems, and/or dysphagia (difficulty swallowing).A� Dry mouth may be permanent.
  • Treatment of stomach may cause nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.

ImmunotherapyA�may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sore mouth, severe weight loss (anorexia), dry mouth, and/or taste changes.

Note:A� We strongly encourage you to talk with Dr. Mehdi about your specific medical condition and treatment plan. The information provided above is meant to be used as an educational piece but is not a substitute for medical advice.

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