Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital

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Nutritional Care Support Programme

Lung cancer and its treatments place great energy demands on the body. Food is the body’s energy source. Adequate nutrition while living with lung cancer is very important, but can be challenging as some symptoms of lung cancer and side effects of treatment can interfere with eating and nutrition.Each person’s nutritional needs during lung cancer are different. They are based on your lung cancer treatment plan, your current height and weight and any other illnesses you may have like diabetes or heart disease.

Here are some nutritional goals to keep in mind as you are facing lung cancer:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. For some people this may mean eating enough calories to avoid weight loss and for others it may mean safely losing weight. Your doctor can help you determine your healthy weight.
  • Get essential nutrients the body needs. These are protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water.
  • Avoid foods that make your lung cancer treatment side effects worse. Certain foods worsen diarrhoea, constipation and mouth sores.

Here are some tips on how to make sure you safely get all of your nutrients when you have lung cancer:

  • Avoid low-calorie or non-nutritious foods and drinks
  • Eat whenever you are hungry
  • Supplement with high-calorie drinks, if necessary
  • Use herbs and spices to make food more appealing
  • Try liquid or pureed meals if you are struggling to eat
  • Eat several small meals throughout the day
  • Avoid foods if they cause you constipation or diarrhoea
  • Avoid food that is very hot or very cold
  • Mint and ginger teas can help soothe your gut
  • Do not take dietary supplements without consulting with your doctor
  • Eat sitting up. Do not lie down after eating
  • Eat bland foods, if your stomach is upset or your mouth hurts
  • Eat high fibre foods to help relieve constipation

What are bland foods?

A bland diet is made up of foods that are soft, not very spicy and low in fibre. Here are some examples:

  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Cooked, canned or frozen vegetables (not raw)
  • Fruit and vegetable juices
  • Cooked or canned fruit with the skin and seeds removed, like applesauce, canned peaches or bananas
  • Breads, crackers and pasta made with refined white flour
  • Rice
  • Oatmeal and cream of wheat
  • Poultry, lean fish and shellfish that are steamed, baked or grilled with no added fat
  • Creamy peanut butter
  • Pudding and custard
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Soup, especially broth
  • Weak tea

General Guidelines for Food Safety

When you are receiving treatment for cancer, your immune system may not be at its best. You are at a greater risk of infection. Make sure you follow these general guidelines when preparing your food:

  • Wash hands thoroughly before eating
  • Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly
  • Use special care in handling raw meats, fish, poultry and eggs
  • Clean anything that has touched raw meat
  • Cook to proper temperatures and drink pasteurized beverages
  • Store foods promptly at low temperatures to minimize bacterial growth (below 40F)
  • Avoid foods that may have potential bacterial contamination such as salad bars, sushi or undercooked meat

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