Nutrition is an important part of cancer treatment. Eating the right kinds of foods before, during, and after treatment can help a patient feel better and stay stronger.1
Lung cancer patient nutrition needs
Good nutrition when living with cancer is important. Some of the symptoms associated with lung cancer and its treatment may affect a person’s appetite or ability to eat. Talk to a physician, a dietitian or other healthcare professional who should be able to help. Here we provide some advice and tips.
- Each person's nutritional needs during lung cancer are different. They are based on a patient’s lung cancer treatment plan, his/her current height and weight, and any other illnesses he/she may have such as diabetes or heart disease.2
- Although there is no prescribed diet for lung cancer patients,2 a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, fat, fiber, water, vitamins, and mineral is essential for patients coping with cancer treatments and the road to recovery.2,3
- Among patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer, 61% have been found to be malnourished.4 In addition, a patient’s nutritional status can deteriorate during the course of cancer treatment, and healing also requires nutrients, extra calories, and additional protein.4 Therefore, it is important to get essential nutrients the body needs.
Nutrition tips for lung cancer patients
Listed below are some tips on how a person with lung cancer can get all of his/her nutrients:2
- Avoid low-calorie or non-nutritious foods and drinks
- Eat whenever patients feel hungry
- Supplement with high-calorie drinks if necessary
- Try liquid or pureed meals if patients have trouble in swallowing
- Eat several small meals throughout the day
- Avoid foods if they cause constipation or diarrhea
- Avoid food that is very hot or very cold
- Mint and ginger teas can help soothe gut
- Do not take dietary supplements without consulting with a doctor
- Eat sitting up. Do not lie down after eating
- Eat bland foods if a patient’s stomach is upset or mouth hurts
- Eat high fiber foods to help relieve constipation
- Talk to a doctor!
1. ACS. Nutrition for the Person with Cancer During Treatment. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/treatment/survivorship-during-and-after-treatment/staying-active/nutrition/nutrition-during-treatment.html. Accessed: 6 May 2019.
2. ALA. Nutrition for Lung Cancer. Available at: https://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/lung-cancer/patients/treatment/stay-healthy/nutrition.html. Accessed: 6 May 2019.
3. ACS. Benefits of Good Nutrition During Cancer Treatment. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/treatment/survivorship-during-and-after-treatment/staying-active/nutrition/nutrition-during-treatment/benefits.html. Accessed: 6 May 2019.
4. CAP. Nutrition in the Patient with Lung Cancer. Available at: https://lungcancercap.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/8_Nutrition_in_the_Patient_with_Lung_Cancer_3rdEdition.pdf. Accessed: 6 May 2019.