Nutrition During Cancer Treatments
When you are healthy and feel well, good
nutrition is often not a problem. However,
with cancer and cancer treatments eating and
drinking can become a difficult task.
Good nutrition during treatments is very
important. Good nutrition may help you:
ξ Maintain strength and energy
ξ Maintain weight
ξ Better tolerate treatments
ξ Lessen side effects caused by
ξ Support your immune system and
lower infection risk
ξ Heal and recover more quickly
Keep in mind:
ξ While going through cancer
treatments the main goal is to eat
nourishing food that gives your body
the calories, protein, and nutrients
needed for energy, recovery and
ξ Healthy foods include plenty of
fruits and vegetables, whole grains,
protein enriched foods like nuts,
beans, lentils, tofu, fish, poultry, lean
meats, and nonfat or low-fat dairy
foods. When feeling well, strive to
eat these foods. Aim to fill your plate
with 2/3 (or more) plant foods and
1/3 (or less) fish, poultry or meat,
ξ You will need more protein during
cancer treatments. Protein helps you
heal and recover. Make sure to
include protein rich foods at all
meals and snacks. Some options are
yogurt, cottage cheese, milk, eggs,
cheese, peanut butter, nuts, beans,
fish, turkey, chicken, supplemental
protein shakes, bars, or protein
ξ Nutrition during cancer treatments is
tailored to your needs. What we
suggest you eat depends on your side
effects or symptoms from the cancer
or treatments. A Registered Dietitian
can help you.
ξ There are no foods that you need to
avoid during cancer treatments,
unless there is something you do not
tolerate. If you are neutropenic or
immunosuppressed you will need to
closely look at food safety guidelines
including good hand-washing.
ξ There can be misleading information
in the media about nutrition and
cancer. No single food or food
component alone can cure or prevent
cancer. Before making any big
changes in your diet, please discuss
with your medical team.
Registered dietitians are available for
appointments Monday-Friday. Ask clinic
staff to make an appointment or call the
main scheduling line at (608) 265-1700.
There is no charge or co-pay for clinical
What is the most important thing you learned from this handout?
What changes will you make in your diet/lifestyle, based on what you learned today?
If you have more questions please contact UW Health at one of the phone number listed below.
You can also visit our website at www.uwhealth.org/nutrition
Nutrition clinics for UW Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) and American Family Children’s
Hospital (AFCH) can be reached at: (608) 890-5500.
Nutrition clinics for UW Medical Foundation (UWMF) can be reached at: (608) 287-2770.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 9/2017 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#398.