Author Topic: Diet for cancer patients: choosing the best option  (Read 336 times)

Offline tanbir

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Diet for cancer patients: choosing the best option
« on: June 14, 2012, 07:21:32 PM »
Choosing a proper diet for patients getting cancer treatment is crucial to keep their weight and nutrition up — it is a part of overall management. Knowledge on foods is also essential for prevention of certain types of cancer.

Cancer patients during treatment experience difficulty in eating due to the side effects of powerful drug or radiotherapy. Common problems include appetite loss, change in sense of taste and smell, constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, cramps, dry mouth, lactose intolerance caused by radiation therapy, nausea, sore mouth, sore throat with trouble swallowing, vomiting, weight loss and so on.

It is particularly difficult to combat these adverse effects because cancer patient tend to develop strong food aversion that is thought to be caused by the effects of chemotherapy. So it is preferable that chemotherapy be withheld for 2 or 3 hours before and after meal. Carbohydrate and fat will be needed to provide this energy. Malnourished should receive extra protein.

High fat diet should be avoided as it is associated with cancer of the uterus, breast prostate and colon. The regular excessive intake of calorie is associated with cancer of the gallbladder and endometrium.

On the positive side, diet rich in fiber helps to protect against colorectal cancer. Vitamin C rich food may protect against the cancer of stomach and esophagus. Vitamin A and Carotene may protect against cancer of lung, bladder and larynx. Fruits and vegetables have abundant elements that will help fight cancer. Legumes such as soybean, dried bean and lentils may protect against cancer. High intake of soy foods is associated with a decreased risk of breast and colon cancer. Carrots, tomato and other foods, rich in carotene and lycopene may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.

The recommendation is to eliminate vitamin A and vitamin E in supplemental form which may prevent cancer cells from self-destruction and work against cancer therapy. Some common suggestions for patients are —

    Eat those foods that you can, even if it is only one or two times

    Drink plenty of liquids

    Sip only small amount of liquid during meal

    Have a large drink at least 30 minutes before or after meal

    Avoid food and drink with smell that bothers you

    Keep your mouth clean

    Drink warm and hot liquid that can help relieve constipation

    Eat high fiber foods which include whole grain, beans, dried fruits etc.

    Eat foods and liquids high in sodium and potassium in case of diarrhoea

    Chew gums or ice cubes in case of dry mouth

    For nausea, have foods and drinks that are not too hot not too cold

    For sore mouth drink with a straw

    Avoid certain foods and drinks when your mouth is sore like citrus fruits, spicy food, salty food, crunchy food

    In case of sore, rinse your mouth 3 to 4 times a day

    Eat when it is time to eat rather than wait to get hungry

Source: The Daily Star
Tanbir
Lecturer, Department of Pharmacy,
DIU.