Food in Cancer


Sometimes the appetite or ability to eat can change in cancer. Here you can read more. You are given advice on what you can do for yourself and what help you can get.

Different things can affect the appetite and ability to eat. It can be what kind of cancer it is and the side effects of the treatment.

Most people do not experience problems with the food, or only temporarily for short periods. The food may need to be adapted

The same advice on food and lifestyle applies to whether you have cancer or not. Try to eat healthily, avoid overweight, quit smokingand move on.

The treatment for cancer can make it difficult to follow dietary advice. Then you need to adapt the food to your own circumstances.

It does not matter to health for the rest of your life if you eat a little less useful for a shorter period. The most important thing is that you get enough nutrition and energy to cope with the treatments. Try to keep the weight stable

It is common for the weight to change if you are treated for cancer. Some lose weight and others gain weight.

It is good if the weight changes were as little as possible. Then it is easier to cope with treatments and side effects, you often feel better and can recover faster.

Weigh yourself once a week

Weigh you once a week. Tell the contact nurse or doctor if you gain or lose a lot of weight without wanting it. Food tips for an increased desire to eat food tips for a reduced desire to eat

Some cancers and treatments can reduce weight without you wanting it.

A common cause is a treatment with cytostatic drugs which can sometimes make you feel ill, lose the appetite to eat or change how the food tastes.

Cytostatic drugs can sometimes cause constipation or diarrhea. It can also cause you to lose weight.

Radiation therapy to certain parts of the body can cause side effects that will help you lose weight. Radiation to the mouth and throat can cause blisters and aches making it difficult to eat. Radiation to your stomach can make you feel sick or have diarrhea, for example.

The disease can also cause you to lose weight. A cancerous tumor in the mouth or esophagus can make eating difficult. A cancerous tumor that presses against the stomach or intestines can prevent the food from passing. Then you get less nutrition.

Sometimes, cancerous tumors that have spread can affect the body’s metabolism. It can help reduce weight or make it difficult to gain weight.

To quickly lose weight

Try to avoid losing weight too quickly. This reduces the risk of feeling very tired or depressed.

Try to maintain weight and avoid losing weight if you already weigh too little when starting treatment.

Food tips for reduced desire to eat

It is common for the weight to decrease because the appetite is affected. Here are tips that can increase your appetite:

  • Eat what you like.
  • Try to add only a small portion on the plate.
  • Divide the food into several small meals with two to three hours in between.
  • Eat soft-textured foods that are easy to chew, such as egg dishes, pasta, soup and cream with milk.
  • Try more cooked food if you are bothered by the food.
  • Finish the meal with something tasty, such as a fruit or nut dessert, yogurt with honey, ice cream, chocolate pudding or cream.

Small meals with lots of energy and nutrition

Food with a lot of energy and nutrition is good if you can only eat a little at every meal. Here are some suggestions:

  • yogurt, milk, and cheese or other high-fat milk products
  • cheese, pie, sausage, hummus, eggs, mayonnaise, caviar, pesto, olives or avocado
  • a click of margarine, butter or oil on rice, pasta, potatoes, and cooked vegetables
  • porridge, flour and powdered soup on milk instead of water
  • milk, beer, and juice instead of water.

Eat at night

You can take the opportunity to get up and eat something if you wake up at night and have trouble falling asleep. Take a glass of milk, file or yogurt. Rinse your mouth afterward to protect your teeth.

Fresh air and subway

You can get more craving for food if you are outdoors and moving.

The appetite can increase if it feels comfortable. For example, it may be to look extra nice.

Some get better mats in front of the computer or on the radio. Others find it easier to eat with others.

Drink with extra energy

Choose an energy-rich drink if you have trouble getting enough energy. It can be juice, juice, meal drink or drinking yogurt.

Drink with nutrition

Sometimes you may need to supplement your food with some nutritional product. Nutritional drinks are available in different flavors. There are also powders and solutions that are mixed in drink or food.

Reduced appetite can affect relationships

The disease and the treatments can make it different from the food at home, no matter how much or little you usually like to eat and to cook.

It can be difficult to know what you want to eat. The feeling is usually that you want to eat but can’t, and it is common for the appetite to vary from meal to meal.

Tell me how it feels

Tell us how it feels for relatives who may want to show their support by cooking. Then they are better prepared that you may not be able to eat at all even though they have prepared a dish that you have been longing for. 

It’s good to try out together. The relatives do not have to feel hurt or worried. You don’t have to feel the pressure.

Avoid talking about food and how important it is to eat. Instead, make another attempt to eat a few hours later.

The food does not have to be cooked. Sometimes an energy drink can suffice.

It may be easier to eat elsewhere than at the dining table, for example in front of the TV. Food tips for nauseaFood tips for diarrhea

Diarrhea can have a variety of causes, for example, it can be a side effect of drugs such as cytostatic drugs, or radiation therapy. It is common to need individual advice, but there are also tips that apply to most.

Drink a lot

Diarrhea causes you to lose fluid. You need to replace it. You may need more fluid than the approximately one and a half to two liters that adults generally feel good about getting through their daily food and drink.

Avoid large amounts of sweet drinks as sugar can cause more diarrhea. But it can go well with, for example, juice and juice if you drink small amounts at a time.

Here are more tips:

  • Drink in small sips and eat small amounts on many occasions instead of eating and drinking a lot on a few occasions. Wait for a maximum of two hours between goals.
  • Choose foods that are gentle on the stomach and intestines, such as rice with chicken, asparagus soup, omelet or toasted French with margarine and cheese.
  • Avoid foods with a lot of fiber such as peas, beans, lentils, mushrooms and all kinds of onions, cabbage, and peppers, fruits with peel, all citrus fruits, coarse bread with whole grains and fiber-rich cereals and muesli.
  • Avoid foods that are high in fat, such as fatty cheeses and fatty desserts.

Extra salt may be needed

You need extra salt if you have a lot of diarrhea. Salt a little extra on the food, drink broth and mineral water. There are also liquid reimbursements to buy at pharmacies or in grocery stores.

Lactose-free can help with long-term problems

The body may have difficulty breaking down milk sugar if you have had diarrhea for a long time. Milk sugar is the same as lactose.

Film milk, yogurt, and other acidified milk products are often easier to tolerate because they contain less lactose.

Most milk products are also available in lactose-free varieties.

The problems usually go away when diarrhea ceases. Food tips for constipation

Constipation is common in connection with certain cancer treatments that affect the intestines. This applies, for example, to some medicines with cytostatic drugs, or some medicines for nausea or pain, for example, morphine.

Often, laxatives are needed, and the advice and help of a doctor or nurse. The drugs make the stools soft, making it easier to poop.

Eat high-fiber foods if the gut functions as usual, such as coarse bread, fruits, and vegetables.

For example, avoid coarse bread, muesli, and other foods with insoluble fiber if constipation is due to the treatment, or because the bowel motility is impaired.

Here are examples of what you can eat and drink instead:

  • fruit juice, vegetable juice and prunes
  • purees of berries and fruits, such as ripe kiwi fruit or soaked and mixed apricots or prunes.
  • soaked whole psyllium seeds or whole flax seeds.

Other tips for constipation

Eat at the same time every day.

Drink enough water to avoid being constipated.

Touch it, it will help your stomach get started.

Go to the toilet at the same time every day and make sure you have time and rest during the toilet visit. Food tips for gas problems

Noise with noisy stomachs and gases usually decreases if you give up or eat less of high-fiber foods or that are gas-forming. Here are some tips:

  • For example, avoid peas, beans, lentils, all kinds of onions, cabbage and peppers, fruits with peel, coarse bread with whole grains and fiber-rich cereals and muesli.
  • Peel all fruits and vegetables that can be peeled.
  • Cooked vegetables and fruits are usually easier to tolerate than raw. Feel free to drive in the mixer to a puree, then the risk of inconvenience will decrease even more.
  • Eat and drink smaller amounts but on more occasions during the day. Eat at most two to three hours apart. For example, you can have breakfast, lunch, dinner and three snacks.  
  • Avoid chewing gum, effervescent tablets, sweets and throat tablets that may contain gaseous substances, such as xylitol, mannitol or sorbitol.

Chewing gum also allows you to swallow air when you chew so that gases are formed. Carbonated beverages also cause you to swallow air.

Prescription-free drugs can relieve

Medicines containing the active substance dimethicone can help if you get stomach upset and stomach aches from the gases.

Other tips for gas problems

Try to eat in peace and quiet so you can chew your food.

It can help to massage your stomach if you have any gases.Food tips in case of tight passage in the intestine

Some cancers can make it difficult for the food to pass through the gut. It is possible to prevent or alleviate the symptoms and make it easier for the gut to absorb nutrition.

Eat foods with softer texture and less fiber. Here are some tips.

  • For example, eat fish, mutton, puree, veal jam, omelet or smooth soups.
  • Avoid peas, beans, lentils, all kinds of onions, cabbage and peppers, peeled fruit, citrus fruits, whole grain bread, and fiber-rich cereals and muesli.
  • Choose lettuce, peeled cucumber, avocado, and fruit or vegetable purees.
  • Peel all fruits and vegetables that can be peeled.
  • Eat several smaller meals, for example, breakfast, lunch, dinner and two to three snacks and one evening meal.
  • Eat slowly and chew your food well.

Food tips in case of mouth and throat trouble

The disease or treatment can cause various kinds of problems in the mouth and throat. The food may start to taste different. You can also get dry or get sore in your mouth.

If the flavors change

Sometimes the treatment for cancer can make food taste different. The taste can be changed in different ways for different people. You may have a persistent taste in your mouth. What you eat or drink can also taste more, less or in a different way than it usually does.

Here are some tips to help ease the hassle.

  • Brush your teeth with toothpaste or rinse your mouth before a meal.
  • Choose foods with a more neutral taste, such as milk and cereals, porridge, or dishes with eggs, pasta or potatoes.
  • Try softer foods that make eating easier, such as soups and egg dishes.
  • The weather before meals. Avoid meats and dishes with strong odor and taste, such as fried fish and spicy foods.
  • Drink plenty of food. Then it becomes easier to swallow it and to rinse away the bad taste.
  • Try mineral water with lemon flavor, or season with water such as cucumber or orange.
  • Try tea with, for example, lemon, chamomile or cinnamon flavor.
  • Try sucking on hard candies, preferably sugar-free, or chewing gum with peppermint. Choose sugar-free caramel or chewing gums.

You can try to counteract or mitigate taste changes by seasoning the food in different ways. Try, for example, salt, olive oil, butter, lemon or honey.

If you are dry in the mouth

Mouth dryness problems can have various causes, such as drug side effects or radiation therapy.

Rinse your mouth well with water.

Lubricate around the mouth with rapeseed oil or sunflower oil before going to bed if you have any trouble while sleeping.

Much sauce for the food lubricates inside the mouth and makes it easier to swallow. Feel free to choose foods with a soft texture, such as mashed potatoes, stewed macaroni or rice porridge.

At pharmacies, there are products that can alleviate the hassles and increase saliva production.

Extra fluorine every day

Less saliva in the mouth increases the risk of caries. You need more fluoride than is found in toothpaste. For example, there are fluoride chewing gum or fluoride tablets to buy at pharmacies.

Some fluoride preparations that are printed on prescription can be discounted through the high-cost protection for medicines.

If you have mouth or throat pain

Certain cytostatic treatments or radiation to the mouth can make the mucous membranes fragile. You may get sores or blisters that hurt or burn.

Often, some drug is needed for the trouble. Talk to your doctor or contact the nurse if you need advice.

You can do some things yourself to relieve the hassle.

  • Avoid strong spices, sour fruits, and juices.
  • Choose soft and mild foods, such as porridge, omelet, scrambled eggs, scallions or pancakes.
  • Choose foods that can be mashed with a fork or that are ground, mixed or liquid.
  • Use a lot of sauce for the food, or add a click of grease to make the food tighter and easier to swallow.
  • Eat the food lukewarm. Avoid foods that are too hot or too cold.
  • Try to eat in a calm and stressed environment.

Some people find it soothing to drink something cold or to suck on ice cream or ice cream.

You may want to try using straws to relieve trouble while drinking.

Nutritional drinks can facilitate

You may need to supplement your food with nutritional drinks so that you get enough energy and nutrients.

If you can’t eat in the usual way

Sometimes it can be difficult to eat with your mouth. You may have difficulty swallowing or feel too bad. Then you can get nutritional solutions through a tube that leads to the stomach, intestine or directly into the blood.

The nutritional solution can be a complement to regular food or instead of regular food. Through the tube that leads to the stomach, you can also get thin liquid-smooth soups, coffee or other drinks.

The choice of nutritional solution depends on the cause of the difficulties and what cancer disease and treatment you receive.

You may need nutritional solutions for short periods or several months. It is often possible to take care of the food supply yourself. The district nurse or a nurse from home care can help if needed. More advice and support if you need

Talk to your contact nurse or doctor if you have any questions about the food. You can see a dietician if you need more help. A dietician can help with different things.

  • You can get more individual advice for your particular situation.
  • You can get help with assessment and product selection if you think you need more nutrition. Nutrition products you get at a discounted price. The cost varies depending on where you live.
  • You can get advice if you feel pressured by the situation at meals.

Food and habits of cancer in children

Children with cancer can have similar problems as adults with the disease and treatment. Children can also lose or gain weight. Often the body can withstand minor changes. Staff will suggest action if needed.

Talk to the staff if you have any questions about the food. 

The important thing is to try to make sure that the child enjoys food and meals in a good way, and that it remains so when the treatment is complete.

Keep the routines as good as possible. It is especially important if there are siblings.

Here are some tips.

  • Eat together and at set times.
  • Make the meal a pleasant moment, talk about other than food.
  • Show up picking food. Let the child choose for yourself what you offer. Do not nag.
  • Avoid using food as a reward.
  • Prepare the child for how much food you intend to serve if the child has an increased craving for food.
  • Attract the child to move, it may be to go to the playground or to meet friends. Then you can expand with more physical activities.

Leave a Reply