Why should I change my eating habits just because I have been diagnosed with cancer? Isn’t it too late now?
During and after cancer treatment, many people find it difficult to eat enough to maintain their weight. This can be for a variety of reasons. Sometimes cancer treatment can make you feel nauseous or change the way that foods taste, or sometimes you just don’t feel hungry. However it is important to ensure you are getting enough calories from your diet to maintain your weight and general wellbeing. If you are losing weight or have very low energy levels it may make it more difficult for you to cope with treatments such as surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
We are often told that eating a healthy balanced diet is an important factor in overall health and if you are not having any problems eating during your treatment this should continue to be the priority.
If you are underweight or find it difficult to eat enough to maintain your weight you may need to change the balance of your diet to include more energy dense food and drinks. This means that high calorie or foods considered ‘unhealthy’, are actually good for you!
There is a lot of publicity and information on the internet about various ‘diets’ for treating cancer. There isn’t good evidence that these diets can make a cancer shrink or increase a person’s chance of survival. The current advice is to follow a healthy balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight, making the most of high calorie food choices if you are struggling to maintain your weight.
If you are having problems maintaining your weight or are planning to change your diet you can get more advice from your doctor, dietitian or specialist nurse.