Eating Well After Treatment

Most eating-related side effects of cancer treatments go away after treatment ends. But some side effects can last for some time. If this happens to you, talk to your cancer care team and work out a plan to manage the problem.

As you begin to feel better, you may have questions about eating a healthier diet. Just as you wanted to go into treatment with the best nutrition 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 and energy, rebuild tissue, and feel better overall.

Tips for healthy eating after cancer treatment

  • Check with your cancer care team to see if you have any food or diet restrictions.
  • Ask your dietitian to help you create a nutritious, balanced eating plan.
  • Try to eat a variety of vegetables—dark green, red, and orange, fiber-rich legumes (beans and peas), and others.
  • Include fruits, especially whole fruits with a variety of colors in your diet.
  • Eat plenty of high-fiber foods, like whole-grain breads and cereals.
  • Try to buy a different fruit, vegetable, low-fat food, or whole-grain product each time you shop for groceries.
  • Avoid or limit your intake of red (beef, pork, or lamb) and processed meats.
  • Avoid or limit sugar-sweetened beverages and refined grain products.
  • Choose low-fat milk and dairy products.
  • It is best not to drink alcohol. If you drink, limit the amount to no more than 1 drink per day for women, and 2 for men. Alcohol is a known cancer-causing agent.

If you’re overweight, consider losing weight by cutting calories and increasing your activity. Choose activities that you enjoy. Be sure to check with your cancer care team before starting an exercise program.

Visit Eat Healthy or call us at 800-227-2345 to learn more about choosing foods for a well-balanced meal plan.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Rock CL, Thomson CA, Sullivan KR, et al. American Cancer Society nutrition and physical activity guideline for cancer survivors. CA Cancer J Clin. 2022. Accessed at https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.3322/caac.21719 on March 16, 2022. 

References

Rock CL, Thomson CA, Sullivan KR, et al. American Cancer Society nutrition and physical activity guideline for cancer survivors. CA Cancer J Clin. 2022. Accessed at https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.3322/caac.21719 on March 16, 2022. 

Last Revised: March 16, 2022

American Cancer Society medical information is copyrighted material. For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy.