Should cancer patients be on a special diet?


Quick Answer

Eating the right foods is an important part of cancer treatment, states the American Cancer Society, or ACS. Chemotherapy, radiation and other cancer treatments are demanding on the body, but a healthy diet can increase a patient’s well-being and speed of recovery, adds WebMD.

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Should cancer patients be on a special diet?
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Full Answer

Proper nutrition while undergoing cancer treatment helps patients to feel better and increases their strength and energy, maintains weight and the body’s nutrients, lowers their risk of infection, increases the rate of recovery, and assists patients in better tolerating treatment side effects, notes the ACS. Cancer patients should increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, whole grains, and lean proteins, with an emphasis on seafood. Salt, added sugars, solid fats and alcohol should be avoided, adds Cancer.net.

Some cancer treatments weaken the immune system, so special care should be taken to avoid germs from food contamination. This includes avoiding cracked or unrefrigerated eggs, checking expiration dates, cooking meats until they are well done, scrubbing and rinsing fruits and vegetables thoroughly, prepping food on clean surfaces, and using a separate cutting board for raw fish, meat and poultry, states WebMD. Some herbal products and dietary supplements, including antioxidants such as vitamin E, interfere with cancer treatments, so talking to a doctor prior to taking dietary supplements is recommended.

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