- Nutrition for the Person With Cancer During Treatment: A Guide for Patients and Families
- Benefits of good nutrition
- Cancer and cancer treatment affect nutrition
- Before treatment begins
- Once treatment starts
- Managing eating problems caused by surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy
- For people with weakened immune systems
- How to cope with common eating problems
- Appetite changes
- Mouth dryness or thick saliva
- Mouth or throat pain or sores
- Swallowing problems
- Taste and smell changes
- Weight gain
- Nutrition after treatment ends
- To learn more
- Recipes to try
Nutrition after treatment ends
Most eating-related side effects of cancer treatments go away after treatment ends. Sometimes side effects like poor appetite, dry mouth, change in taste or smell, trouble swallowing, or weight changes may last for some time. If this happens to you, talk to your health care team and work out a plan to deal with the problem.
As you begin to feel better, you may have questions about eating a healthy diet. Just as you wanted to go into treatment with the best nutrient stores that your diet could give you, you’ll want to do the best for yourself at this important time, too. Eating well will help you regain your strength, rebuild tissue, and feel better overall.
Tips for healthy eating after cancer
- Check with your doctor for any food or diet restrictions.
- Ask your dietitian to help you create a nutritious, balanced eating plan.
- Choose a variety of foods from all the food groups. Try to eat at least 2½ cups a day of fruits and vegetables, including citrus fruits and dark-green and deep-yellow vegetables.
- Eat plenty of high-fiber foods, like whole-grain breads and cereals.
- Buy a new fruit, vegetable, low-fat food, or whole-grain product each time you shop for groceries.
- Decrease the amount of fat in your meals by baking or broiling foods.
- Limit your intake of red meat to no more than 3 to 4 servings a week.
- Avoid salt-cured, smoked, and pickled foods (including bacon, sausage, and deli meats).
- Choose low-fat milk and dairy products.
- If you choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount.
If you are overweight, consider losing weight by cutting calories and increasing your activity. Choose activities that you enjoy. Check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
Use the American Cancer Society’s Nutrition and Physical Activity During and After Cancer Treatment: Answers to Common Questions to help choose foods for a well-balanced meal plan. It is available at www.cancer.org or by calling our toll-free number.
Last Medical Review: 05/26/2012
Last Revised: 03/15/2013