‘Eat to live not live to eat’, is a popular proverb. But, in today’s time, ‘what’ we eat has a significant role to play as well. Eating healthy and on time has become important in determining one’s lifestyle and health because of the easy availability of junk foods at every nook and corner of our homes and offices. This may seem like a totally different topic of unending discussion. However, diet and nutrition are extremely important for cancer patients and that is what we are going to delve deeper into today.

When you are a healthy individual, your eating is usually optimum and you are able to maintain your regular weight and caloric intake quite easily. Your diet is the primary way of getting nutrients that are responsible for fuelling your body, protecting it and keeping you healthy. But, things change when you are ill or fall sick because your illness can affect the way you eat and the way your body tolerates the food you eat. The effects of the food you eat on your body are also different when you are ill.

This holds true even for a cancer patient. One of the biggest challenges for cancer patients is to be able to maintain a healthy weight and enable their body with the required energy and immunity to fight the disease. Also, there is a challenge of sorts for cancer patients when it comes to diet and nutrition because of the side effects of cancer treatment such as malnutrition, eating disorders, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting as a side effect of the treatments etc.

When you are a healthy individual, your eating is usually optimum and you are able to maintain your regular weight and caloric intake quite easily. Your diet is the primary way of getting nutrients that are responsible for fuelling your body, protecting it and keeping you healthy. But, things change when you are ill or fall sick because your illness can affect the way you eat and the way your body tolerates the food you eat. The effects of the food you eat on your body are also different when you are ill.

This holds true even for a cancer patient. One of the biggest challenges for cancer patients is to be able to maintain a healthy weight and enable their body with the required energy and immunity to fight the disease. Also, there is a challenge of sorts for cancer patients when it comes to diet and nutrition because of the side effects of cancer treatment such as malnutrition, eating disorders, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting as a side effect of the treatments etc.

Why is Diet and Nutrition Important for cancer patients?
As we mentioned earlier, diet and nutrition are a very important part of cancer care and treatment. Eating the right kinds of foods during and after cancer treatment has immense benefits for the cancer patients as it helps them stay physically and mentally strong, enables them to withstand the treatment procedures, helps boost the immunity of their body and recover faster.

Just like a healthy diet and good nutrition help in keeping our body healthy when there is no sickness, eating the right kinds of foods that include – minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, proteins and antioxidants are extremely important for a cancer patient to recover completely.

Some diet and nutrition recommendations for a cancer patient?
Cancer – the word itself tends to have a slowing down effect on our mind and body. For those people fighting the disease, it becomes increasingly tiring and exhausting to go through the treatments, tests and routine procedures. The treatment itself has its side effects which impact the patient’s health, along with the stress that comes with it, which has a rather snowballing effect on the health of the patient. Some common health problems seen with cancer patients are:

  • Excessive loss of weight
  • Excessive weight gain
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Loss of appetite
  • Digestive troubles
In order to continue staying healthy while being treated for cancer, most healthcare providers, nutritionists and dieticians recommend:
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Staying active at all times
  • Getting all essential nutrients through diet


What can you do to stay healthy during your cancer treatment?

One of the first things you must do to stay focused on your recovery to health is to appoint a registered dietician or a registered nutritionist to be a part of your healthcare team. Usually, your oncologist will recommend one for you and if you would like to choose cancer home care, you can speak with your home care service provider too.

A dietician or nutritionist will make sure your diet is not just healthy at all times but keeps modifying it with your treatment procedures to make sure your body is getting all the essential nutrients as per the need while keeping in mind the side effects of each type of treatment meted out to you at each stage.

Sometimes, additional supplements of essential nutrients may be prescribed to you to make up for the lack of them in your diet or your inability to take them in the required amounts. Remember to drink lots of liquids and fluids all throughout your day during your cancer treatment in order to keep your body hydrated at all times.

Though no particular diet can cure cancer, a well- balanced diet with all the necessary nutrients is sure to keep you healthy – both in mind and body, during your cancer treatment.