It can be overwhelming to listen to pieces of advice from varying sources. Especially at the start of a challenging journey, when we don’t know who or what to follow.
What kind of food should a person eat when undergoing treatment? How much? What if they find it difficult to eat?
These are common questions asked by both cancer patients and their caregivers.
Since each person’s experience with food and nutrition during cancer treatment is different- it depends on the type of cancer they have, the stage they’re at, the type of treatment they’re receiving, and the medication they’re taking- it is critical to consult a nutritionist or a dietitian. The nutritionist or dietician will regularly monitor the patient’s condition and make a diet chart or plan suited to their needs at that point in time.
That said, both the patient and the caregiver would do well to know some basics of diet during oncological treatment.
The body needs to be supplied with enough and the right nutrition for cells to repair and heal. But it is difficult to eat when you don’t have the appetite for it, or feel full after taking only a few bites of food. Cancer, in combination with its treatment and medication, causes multiple side effects relating to food consumption and digestion.
These include: nausea; fatigue; loss of appetite, weight loss, malnutrition; weight gain; fluid retention; vomiting; diarrhea; constipation; taste changes; milk or lactose intolerance; sore mouth, tongue, and throat; dry mouth; difficulty swallowing; narrowing of the food pipe; and tooth decay.
The list may seem overwhelming at first, but the basic tips to mitigate all such discomfort remain the same: