Diet and nutrition help cancer survivors return to good health

Dec 6, 2021 | Jennifer O'Hara | @jenohara | Comments (3)

After cancer treatment, cancer survivors are eager to return to good health. The right diet and nutrition can play a big role in improving long-term health so cancer survivors can enjoy the years ahead.

Diet and nutrition recommendations for cancer survivors are no different from the recommendations for anyone who wants to improve their health: Eat a balanced diet with an emphasis on vegetables, fruits and whole grains; drink alcohol moderately, if at all; and maintain a healthy weight.

"Both the American Cancer Society and the American Institute for Cancer Research recommend the same exact diet for cancer survivors that we recommend for cancer prevention," says Dr. Dawn Mussallem, a Mayo Clinic hematologist and oncologist. "A low fat-diet is recommended. That's a predominantly whole food, plant-based diet that is rich with vegetables; whole grains; colorful fruits; and things like beans, lentils, seeds and nuts. This is really the essential diet that's good for all health and health-related diseases, not just cancer."

Maintaining a healthy weight is important to overall health, but some cancer survivors may struggle to maintain weight during and after treatment due to nausea or lack of appetite.

"For underweight patients, it is very important that they work with a dietician," says Dr. Mussallem. "These patients need healthy, high calorie-dense foods and they may need to eat smaller portions throughout the day."

On this Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Mussallem, discusses what cancer survivors should know about diet and nutrition.

To practice safe social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, this interview was conducted using video conferencing. The sound and video quality are representative of the technology used. For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

Read the full transcript.

For more information and all your COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.

Connect with others talking about cancer, diet and lifestyle in the Cancer: Managing Symptoms support group.

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I could not tolerate any of the AI drugs. My weight ballooned while I tried to stay on them. It took a year to get it off. I was 266 pounds in the end. It is a year later, I have completely changed my way of eating, and I am now, since June 15th, under the 200 mark. I walk again, and exercise, and live my life to the fullest….. A healthy diet was my answer. 2 years cancer free. I have a goal of 100 pounds by next June 15th.

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@jeaniebean

I could not tolerate any of the AI drugs. My weight ballooned while I tried to stay on them. It took a year to get it off. I was 266 pounds in the end. It is a year later, I have completely changed my way of eating, and I am now, since June 15th, under the 200 mark. I walk again, and exercise, and live my life to the fullest….. A healthy diet was my answer. 2 years cancer free. I have a goal of 100 pounds by next June 15th.

Jump to this post

Atta go, Jeanie. Sounds like you’ve adopted healthy eating and activity habits that you can stick to. In what ways have you changed your eating habits?

REPLY
@colleenyoung

Atta go, Jeanie. Sounds like you’ve adopted healthy eating and activity habits that you can stick to. In what ways have you changed your eating habits?

Jump to this post

I am following the starch solution. I read an article from Ester Lebeck Loveridge who wrote Donuts to Potatoes. She lost 100 pounds in a year. I have lost 40 at the 6 month mark and feel great! I am also going to stop my blood pressure meds, as it was lower before my dr put me back on. The secret to success? Just move…..

REPLY
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