I recently attended a nutrition class for cancer patients and thought I’d share what I learned. This will be the first of several posts that will show up from time to time. Remember, you need to see your doctor/nutritionist before doing any of this. (See my Disclaimer page.)

I’m not at the treatment stage yet, but I hear it sometimes comes with lots of fun side effects such as loss of appetite; sore or dry mouth; painful swallowing; changes in taste or smell; nausea or vomiting; and diarrhea or constipation.

Lots to look forward too!

Apparently, though, not all chemo treatments cause nausea, etc. Good idea to chat with your doctor about the various options.

Anywho… here’s some ideas given at the class on how to prevent or lessen those problems:

Loss of Appetite

  • Recognize that food is a necessary and valuable part of therapy (think of it as medicine)
  • Select high calorie/high protein foods
  • Include fresh air and some physical activity daily (this really helps increase appetite)
  • Make mealtimes pleasant
  • Eat with family or friends
  • Eat favorite or well tolerated foods

Nausea and Vomiting:

  • Eat slowly and chew food thoroughly
  • Take small portions at mealtime
  • Try dry foods like toast, crackers, pretzels
  • Avoid greasy or fried foods
  • Avoid foods with strong odors
  • Slowly sip or drink liquids throughout the day
  • Don’t force yourself to eat
  • Rest after meals

Diarrhea:

  • Drink plenty of liquids
  • Gradually add low roughage foods
  • Avoid greasy or fried foods
  • Eat small frequent meals
  • Avoid high fiber foods
  • Limit beverages that contain caffeine
  • Limit milk and milk products

Sore or Dry Mouth (sometimes chemo can cause painful mouth sores)

  • Try soft, cold foods such as ice cream, popsicles, watermelon, and frozen grapes
  • Avoid spicy or acidic foods
  • Use a food processor or blender to puree food
  • Add sauces and gravies to food
  • Eat sugar free candy or chew gum
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Biotin is helpful
  • Try making a baking soda mouthwash

I’ll be posting more ideas on nutrition and how to prepare for this ongoing battle with Leuk. In the mean time, for those of us who are anticipating chemo but haven’t experienced it yet, I think it’s best to be prepared.

If any of you out there already have experience with chemo, please post a comment to enlighten us newbies.

Whatever chemo involves, my doctor says to definitely have it. Don’t put it off – when your doctor says it’s time, do it. Don’t let Leuk get the best of you without a fight.

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3 thoughts on “Nutrition Part I… Combating the side effects of chemo

    • I’m all in on that one. How about you bake up some of those brownies and we invite some of our more straight-laced relatives, then watch the fun! Come to think of it though, I’m not sure we have any straight-lacers in our family!

  1. I think you are right. I’m sure they could teach us a thing or 3. We could rent some really bad movies and eat junk food, and solve all the world problems.

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