Due to psychological stress or physical pain from cancer treatment, cancer patients often have poor appetite and digestion. And some of them might feel they shall limit their diets for better treatment, which is one of the nutrition myths that can lead to malnutrition for cancer patients.
In the clinic, a high proportion of cancer patients were reported with anorexia, and this figure can be up to 80% among patients with advanced-stage cancer. The malnutrition among cancer patients is mainly caused by tumors, and tumor cells can aggressively take away nutrients to support their own growth.
In addition, nutrition deficiency among cancer patients is also associated with decreased mobility, increased adverse reactions, and length of illness. Particularly, patients with alimentary tract tumor and middle and late-stage tumors are more susceptible to malnutrition.
Cancer patients with weight loss and malnutrition tend to have a poor prognosis, so nutrition care is very important for cancer patients and shall be paid great attention to.
Small and frequent meals, such as 6 meals a day is a must for cancer patients with poor digestion. Choose easily digestible foods like porridge, steamed bread, noodles, eggs, fish, chicken, tofu, etc., coupled with soft vegetables, i.e. eggplant, pumpkin, towel gourd, tomato, taro, etc.
Fresh milk, soybean milk, nutrition powders, and fruit, and vegetable juice can be given between meals. In order to promote digestion, patients can take some digestive enzyme tablets and vitamin B complex.
Avoid sweet, fried, and greasy foods or food in too low or high temperature. Do not eat foods 2 hours before receiving chemoradiotherapy if you have severe vomiting.
Regular water supplementation is good, but do not drink too much near or after meals immediately. Slow dewing is advisable, and do not eat in a fast manner for better digestion. Take a 10-20 minute walk after meals, and do not sit or lie down immediately after meals.
Eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables. Patients might receive antiemetic drugs after chemotherapy and often get constipation, nausea, and anorexia. In this case, it is helpful to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, which can promote bowel motility, relieve indigestion, constipation and other symptoms.
Drinking extra water. During chemoradiotherapy, cancer patients shall drink more water than usual to ensure facilitate kidney functions and promote drug metabolism and excretion.
Cancer patients can choose boiled water, tea, juice, or soup based on individual preferences. Do not drink alcoholic beverages, which might lead to drug interactions and thus reducing drug effectiveness. The amount of water drank varies from person to person.
A balanced diet with good nutrition is of great importance. Diet and nutrition is a good start for better health to face cancer treatment.