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Cancer – Treatment Complications and Nutritional Intervention

Each person in these cases is different and may have other symptoms at different intensities.


ANOREXIA – LOSS OF APPETITE
  • Eat foods high in protein and calories (Beans, Chicken, Fish, Meat, Yogurt, Eggs)

  • Eat more when your appetite is better and you feel better.

  • Drink only small amounts of fluids during meals.

  • Drink milkshakes, smoothies, juices or soups if you don't want to eat solid food.

  • Eat foods that smell good.

  • Have snacks ready and eat small meals and healthy snacks frequently throughout the day and larger meals when you feel well and rested.

  • Make and store small amounts of favorite foods so they are ready to eat when you are hungry.

  • Be as active as possible to have a good appetite.

  • Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth to relieve symptoms and aftertastes.



DIARRHEA
  • Drink liquids at room temperature to replenish

  • Eat foods higher in sodium and potassium, e.g. boiled potatoes, bananas, soups, broth

  • Avoid very fatty foods (oily) and lots of raw fruits and vegetables (they have a lot of fiber that doesn't help with diarrhea)

  • Avoid foods that produce gas (eg cauliflower, beans, broccoli and whatever else you can think of). Carbonated drinks (soft drinks, soda) and chewing gum do not help

  • Caffeine and dairy, especially milk, may bother some people  try to limit them and see how your body reacts


NAUSEA
  • Choose foods you like. Don't force yourself to eat food that makes you feel sick. Don't eat your favorite foods so you don't associate them with being sick.

  • Eat foods that are mild, soft and easy to digest, instead of heavy meals.

  • Eat dry foods such as crackers, white toast, plain yogurt and clear broth

  • Eat dry toast or crackers before getting out of bed if you have morning sickness.

  • Eat food and drink liquids at room temperature (not too hot or too cold).

  • Try hard candies like mints or lemon drops if your mouth tastes bad.

  • Stay away from food and drink with strong smells.

  • Eat 5 or 6 small meals each day instead of 3 large meals.

  • Don't skip meals and snacks. An empty stomach can make nausea worse.

  • Rinse your mouth before and after eating.

  • Do not eat in a room that smells of cooking or is very hot.

  • Relax before any cancer treatment.

  • Wear clothes that are loose and comfortable.

  • Keep a record of when you feel nauseous and why.

  • Talk to your doctor about using anti-nausea medicine.




VOMITING
  • Do not eat or drink anything until the vomiting stops.

  • Drink small amounts of clear liquids after the vomiting has stopped.

  • After you are able to drink clear liquids without vomiting, drink liquids such as strained soups or milkshakes, which are easy on your stomach.

  • Eat 5 or 6 small meals each day instead of 3 large meals.

  • Sit up and bend forward after vomiting.

  • Ask your doctor to prescribe medication to prevent or control vomiting.



DRY MOUTH
  • Eat foods that are easy to swallow.

  • Moisture in food with sauces.

  • Eat foods and drinks that are too sweet

  • Chew gum or suck on hard candies, popsicles or ice chips.

  • Drink water throughout the day.

  • Do not eat foods that may harm your mouth (such as spicy, sour, salty, hard or crunchy foods).

  • Keep your lips moist with lip balm.

  • Rinse your mouth every 1 to 2 hours. Do not use mouthwash that contains alcohol.

  • Do not use tobacco products and avoid passive smoking.

  • Ask your doctor or dentist about using artificial saliva


WOUNDS IN THE MOUTH
  • Eat soft foods that are easy to chew, such as milkshakes, creams

  • Cook food until soft

  • Cut the food into small pieces.

  • Suck on ice cubes to numb and soothe your mouth.

  • Eat foods cold or at room temperature.

  • Drink through a straw to move liquid past the painful parts of your mouth.

  • Avoid Foods such as oranges, lemons and limes, Spicy foods

  • Tomatoes and ketchup, very salty foods, raw vegetables, crunchy foods and alcoholic beverages


CHANGES IN TASTE
  • Eat poultry, fish, eggs and cheese instead of red meat.

  • Add spices and sauces to foods (pickled foods).

  • Use sugar-free lemon drops, chewing gum or peppermint if there is a metallic or bitter taste in your mouth.

  • Use plastic utensils and do not drink directly from metal containers if food has a metallic taste.

  • Chew food more

  • Brush your teeth and take care of your mouth


SORE THROAT AND DIFFICULTY IN SWALLOWING
  • Eat soft foods that are easy to chew and swallow, such as milkshakes, scrambled eggs, oatmeal, or other cooked cereals.

  • Moisture in food with sauces, broth or yogurt

  • Cook food until soft.

  • Cut the food into small pieces.

  • Drink with a straw.

  • Eat 5 or 6 small meals each day instead of 3 large meals.

  • Sit upright and lean your head slightly forward when eating or drinking and stay upright for at least 30 minutes after eating.

  • Do not use tobacco.

  • Avoid  Hot foods and drinks, Spicy foods, Foods with high acid content, Spicy or crunchy foods, Alcoholic beverages



References;

  • Nutrition in cancer care (no date) National Cancer Institute. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/appetite-loss/nutrition-pdq (Accessed: 21 June 2023).

  • Home (no date) Cancer Treatment | General Nutrition Guidelines | Beaumont Health. Available at: https://www.beaumont.org/conditions/cancer-treatment-general-nutrition-guidelines (Accessed: 21 June 2023).

  • Diarrhea - American cancer society (2020). Available at: https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/CRC/PDF/Public/8919.00.pdf (Accessed: 21 June 2023).

  • No appetite during cancer treatment? try these tips (2022) Mayo Clinic. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/in-depth/cancer/art-20045046 (Accessed: 21 June 2023).









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