Managing side effects with nutrition
Cancer treatment can affect the heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, bladder and nervous system in different ways, causing a variety of side effects that can interfere with your treatment regimen. Your dietitian may use various nutrition interventions to combat the side effects of cancer treatment, such as:
- Weight loss: We will monitor you closely to ensure you are maintaining a healthy weight, since weight loss can delay or interrupt your treatment.
- Fatigue: We may recommend small, frequent meals and nutrient-dense foods to give you more energy.
- Nausea: We may recommend a low-fat, bland diet of cold foods, ginger products, peppermint or sea bands to combat nausea.
- Constipation: We may recommend you increase your fiber intake and stay hydrated, including drinking warm liquids (e.g., prune juice), to relieve constipation.
- Diarrhea: We may suggest a BRAT diet of bananas, white rice, applesauce and toast to help minimize irritation to the digestive tract, and water soluble fiber supplements (e.g., pectin) to help form firmer stool.
- Anemia: We may recommend iron and folic acid supplements to boost your red blood cell count.
- Low blood counts: We may recommend a well-balanced, protein-rich diet to help your blood counts return to a safe level.
See our nutrition tips for managing some cancer-related side effects.
NOTE: This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to making decisions about your treatment.