I am sorry to hear about your mother's diagnosis. Herewith some advice on nutrition:
Good nutrition is important if one has cancer. Cancer and cancer
treatments can also affect the way one’s body tolerates certain foods and uses
nutrients. The nutrient needs of people with cancer vary from person to person.
The cancer care team can help patients identify their nutrition goals and plan
ways to help them meet their goals. Good nutrition is essential – it helps
Keep up strength and
Maintain a good weight
treatment-related side effects
Lower the risk of
Heal and recover
If able and allowed to eat, eat as healthy as possible as allowed by the
digestive system - Fruits, vegetables,
lean protein, and whole grains are all nutrient dense foods. Nutrient dense
foods are foods that contain protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fat,
vitamins, and minerals all needed by the body to function optimally. Consult a
registered dietitian for specific recommendations based on one’s level of food
tolerance. Refer to the table above.
No single food will
supply all the nutrients a body needs, so good nutrition means eating a variety
of foods. It is important to eat foods from each group at each meal every day.
Foods are divided into
five main groups:
Fruits and vegetables
(oranges, apples, bananas, carrots, and spinach)
Whole grains, cereals,
and bread (wheat, rice, oats, bran and barley)
Dairy products (milk,
cheese, and plain yogurt)
Meats and meat
substitutes (fish, poultry, eggs, dried beans, and nuts)
Fats and oils (oil,
butter, and margarine)
It is important to eat
foods from each food group at each meal every day. Meals and snacks should
include starch/grains, protein, dairy, fruits, vegetables and fats. By eating
foods from each food group at each meal, an individual ensures that the body
has a proper balance of all nutrients it needs to function. Eating meals and
snacks at regular times is also necessary for controlling blood sugar levels.
Eat whole grain foods when possible - Cereals, breads,
brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and crackers are good whole grain choices. Whole
grain foods will have “whole grain flour,” “whole wheat flour,” or “oats” as
one of the first 3 ingredients. Take cognisance of the possibility of ‘dumping
syndrome’. A registered dietitian can provide guidelines.
Avoid excess sugar and sweets - Since sugary foods
can be a cause of ‘dumping syndrome’ one should be careful in consuming sugary
foods and drinks.
If excessive weight loss becomes an issue, one’s body may need more
kilojoules and it is fine if some of them come from sugar as long as one is
able to tolerate sweet foods. It is important to consult a registered dietitian
in this regard.
Be as active as possible - Exercise may help
to stimulate the digestive system. Being able to eat more and having an
enhanced feeling of wellbeing will make one’s treatments more bearable.
If able, or allowed to take in food per mouth, take in sufficient fluids
to avoid dehydration - Choose beverages
that contain nutrients and kilojoules. A good starting point is to strive for
several glasses of nutritious beverages per day. Only take small sips to avoid
excessive bloating, gas or feeling too full to eat.
A registered dietitian can provide recommendations for which liquid
nutrition supplement and how much is best.
Avoid all alcoholic beverages - Alcohol is a Group
1 cancer causing agent according the International Agency for Research on
Cancer (IARC) and is best avoided.
Keep a journal - Record eating
times, foods consumed, and any effects to track and determine which foods are
Take all medications as prescribed – It is essential to
take medicines regularly as prescribed.
Maintain a good mass (weight) - It is normal to
lose some weight after being diagnosed (and treated) for cancer of the stomach.
If losing more than ½ to 1Kg per week continuously, consult a registered
dietitian immediately for recommendations on increasing kilojoule intake.
If there are any specific questions regarding any of the guidelines,
please contact a registered dietitian.(MCH).