The nutritional side-effects of many cancer therapies means that patients need to adjust their eating habits and lifestyle to manage these.  Below is a table outlining some of the common side-effects of cancer treatment along with ways in which to manage these side-effects.




Related Treatment


Nausea and vomiting

Radiation, chemotherapy

·        Drink cold clear drinks and ensure adequate liquid intake

·        Avoid fatty and strong smelling foods

·        Eat small frequent meals slowly

·        Eat salty foods

·        Rest before and following eating

Dry mouth/Sore mouth


·        Drink regularly. Try to drink at least 2 litres of liquid daily.

·        Drink high-calorie beverages

·        Use gravies and sauces to soften food

·        Chewing sugar-free gum to activate salivation

·        Suck on sugar-free ice blocks

·        Avoid spicy foods

·        Eat food at room temperature

·        Keep lips moist

·        Take small bites and chew well.

Inflammation and irritation of mucous membranes

Chemotherapy, Radiation and some surgical procedures

·        Drink regularly to maintain hydration

·        Low fibre diet if bowel is reacting to minimise diarrhoea

·        Keep food and stools soft to prevent trauma and constipation

Taste alteration


Try different seasonings on food

If you dislike high protein food, try alternatives such as peanut butter, cheese and ice cream

Eat frequent small meals

Try high protein supplements

Avoid foods that stick to the roof  of your mouth

Use lemon-flavoured drinks to stimulate saliva production and taste.

Loss of appetite

Chemotherapy, Radiation

These recommendations are made for those not experiencing diarrhea.

Eat regular small meals

Mild exercise prior to eating

Avoid fluids with meals

Eat slowly and when hungry

Supplements between meals if losing weight

Eat high protein foods

Swallowing problems

Radiation, Surgical procedures

Drink additional fluid throughout the day and thicken fluid so it is easy to swallow

Eat small meals frequently

Add sauce to assist swallowing

Use liquid nutritional supplements

Chop or blend food if needed


Fruit and Vegetables

Researchers and Cancer Support Groups alike strongly recommend the optimum intake of fruit and vegetables in the diet of those recovering from cancer. Fruit and vegetables contain various vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. These phytochemicals are natural substances (eg. Antioxidants) which can destroy carcinogens).  Most Cancer groups and government organisations recommend a daily intake of five (5) servings of vegetables and two (2) serves of fruit each day.

Course Extract from Nutrition for Disease Management by Health Academy Australia