Proper nutrition is crucial during cancer treatment to help maintain energy levels, support the immune system, and minimize treatment side effects. This resource will provide information on the role of nutrition during cancer treatment and offer practical tips and advice on how to eat well while undergoing treatment.
Importance of proper nutrition during cancer treatment:
Helps maintain energy levels and prevent weight loss
Supports the immune system and reduces the risk of infection
Helps manage treatment side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
Provides important nutrients for the body to heal and recover
General guidelines for a healthy diet during cancer treatment:
Focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, and healthy fats
Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day to maintain energy levels
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoiding sugary drinks
Limit processed foods, red meat, and high-fat foods
Talk to your healthcare team or an accredited practising dietitian to determine your individualized nutrition needs and any dietary restrictions based on your cancer type and treatment plan.
Tips for managing common treatment side effects through nutrition:
For nausea and vomiting, try eating small, frequent meals of bland, low-fat foods such as crackers, rice, or bananas. Sipping ginger tea or taking ginger supplements may also help.
For diarrhea, avoid high-fiber foods and focus on consuming bland, low-fiber foods such as white rice, bananas, and applesauce. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids is also important.
For constipation, consume high-fiber foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables and drink plenty of fluids.
For taste changes, try adding different herbs and spices to your meals or experimenting with different textures and temperatures.
Resources for cancer patients and caregivers:
The Cancer Council Australia offers nutrition guidelines and resources for cancer patients: https://www.cancer.org.au/living-with-cancer/healthy-living/nutrition-exercise/nutrition
The Dietitians Association of Australia provides a directory of dietitians who specialize in oncology nutrition: https://daa.asn.au/find-an-accredited-practising-dietitian/
Dietitians at Four Seasons Dietetics have special interest in oncology and have experience working with patients of various types of cancers. Book an appointment with our dietitian to discuss your personal nutrition plan. We offer telehealth consultations or in-person consultations in Sydney Adventist Hospital's Integrated Cancer Centre and in Wynard of Sydney CBD.