Cancer Nutrition

Choosing healthy foods is beneficial for everyone, and more so for the cancer patient. Through the doors of any cancer center, you'll learn that the disease and its treatment may interfere with nutrition.

Nacogdoches Medical Center's radiation therapy supervisor Richard Bannon explained, " We need the patients to eat to replenish their cells., to help rebuild these cells. We kill the cells  everyday. We need to have them eat well to replenish  the cells everyday."

Unfortunately, cancer can kill appetite, cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation. It can even affect taste and smell. Thanks to evolving nutritional research, patients can better control unpleasant side effects that interfere with eating.

UTMB's Dr. Billy Philips shares the findings with caregivers and cancer survivors. Philips is the Chair of Preventive Medicine and Community Health at UTMB. Philips suggests, " Follow a pretty normal diet that's well balanced and eat across the day. Most of us eat two large meals in a day. Ideally, it would be best if we ate maybe five or six small meals across the day. " Doctors advise strongly to start now by drinking lots of water, eating fresh, raw, organic fruits and vegetables and foods rich in protein. Exercising can also build an appetite and stamina. Philips knows it's hard to change habits in time of chaos, something that comes with cancer. He suggests these habits before a person gets sick.

As uncomfortable as it may be, stick to the prescribed treatment, accept compassion and celebrate when it's over. Three rings of a bell is done at M.D. Anderson and also in Nacogdoches at the end of cancer treatments.   And then invite others to follow good nutritional habits. That's good for everyone.

For more information about cancer nutrition: