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Eating well when you have cancer means eating foods that help your body stay strong. Cancer and cancer treatments can make it harder for your body to get what it needs from food. So choose a variety of foods that provide good nutrients, including colourful fruits and vegetables.
You may find it hard to eat during treatment for cancer because:
Some people eat well during most of their cancer treatment. Others may have days when they don't feel like eating at all. Even the thought of food may make them feel sick.
This can help you keep your strength and prevent weight loss. Try a liquid meal replacement such as Ensure or Boost for extra calories and protein. Smoothies or shakes are a good choice too.
Your appetite may be better early in the day. Or you may find it easier to eat smaller meals more often, instead of three large meals.
You may feel more like eating if you don't cook your own foods.
Drink when you don't feel like eating. Carry a water bottle with you during the day.
Do what you can to make yourself feel better. And start eating as soon as you feel better. Call your doctor or go to the ER if you can't eat or drink at all.
Good eating habits for people who have cancer may be different from other healthy eating guidelines. Go to the Canadian Cancer Society website at www.cancer.ca to find more information about nutrition.
If you have serious problems eating, you may need to get nutrition and fluids another way. This can be done through intravenous (IV) fluids or through a feeding tube.
You can get support and learn how to eat well from a registered dietitian or a dietitian who works in cancer care. Or work with another member of your care team. A dietitian can help you plan meals and find foods and drinks that you like and can eat.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter N175 in the search box to learn more about "Learning About Nutrition During Cancer Treatment".
Adaptation Date: 3/2/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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