Eating a healthy diet is an important part of staying well during and after cancer treatment.
There are people who can advise you about your diet, and help if you have problems eating or drinking.
A healthy, balanced diet
By eating a healthy, balanced diet during your cancer treatment, you will be able to cope better and your body will recover faster.
A healthy, balanced diet is one that contains all of the nutrients that your body needs. These include protein, carbohydrates and fats.
You should also aim to drink plenty of water each day unless your doctor or nurse has told you that you are fluid-restricted.
Problems with eating
It is common to have problems eating and drinking when you have cancer, and there are many reasons why. Some are related to the cancer itself, while others are due to the cancer treatment.
If you are having problems eating or drinking, it is important not to be too hard on yourself. You still need to eat a healthy diet, but there may be some times when you don’t feel like eating.
If you are worried that you are not eating enough, ask to speak to a dietitian at your cancer treatment centre. They can make sure you are getting enough nutrition and the right types of foods.
When you are having treatment you are more at risk of getting an infection. This includes infections such as listeria that can be carried in some foods.
You can reduce the risk of infections from food by following some general safety measures:
- wash your hands before preparing food
- clean food preparation area
- make sure food is cooked thoroughly, especially chicken, meat, seafood
- store cold foods in the fridge
- avoid eating food that is being shared or may not have been refrigerated consistently, e.g. smorgasbords
- wash all fruit and vegetables before preparing
- avoid soft cheeses e.g. brie, camembert, blue, ricotta and fetta
- avoid soft serve ice-creams
- avoid unpasteurised or raw dairy foods.