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Proper Nutrition After Colon Cancer Treatment Ends

Most eating-related side effects associated with radiation, chemotherapy, or other treatments go away after cancer treatment ends. If you've experienced side effects, you should gradually begin to feel better, and your interest in food and mealtimes will come back. Sometimes, though, side effects persist -- especially weight loss. If this happens to you, talk to your healthcare provider and work out a plan together for how to address the problem.
 
After colon cancer treatment ends and you're feeling better, you may want to think again about the traditional guidelines for healthy eating. Just as you wanted to go into treatment with all the reserves that a good eating plan could give you, you'll want to do the best for yourself at this important time.
 
There is no current research that suggests the foods you eat will prevent your cancer from recurring. But we do know that eating right will help you regain your strength, rebuild tissue, and help you feel well. Here are the fundamentals:
 
  • Focus on eating a variety of foods every day. No one food contains all the nutrients you need.
     
  • Emphasize fruits and vegetables. Raw or cooked vegetables, fruits, and fruit juices provide the vitamins, minerals, and fiber you need.
     
  • Emphasize breads and cereals, especially whole grain varieties like whole wheat bread, oats, and brown rice. These foods are good sources of complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
 
  • Go easy on fat, salt, sugar, alcohol, and smoked or pickled foods. Choose low-fat milk products, and small portions (no more than six to seven ounces a day) of lean meat and poultry without the skin. Try lower-fat cooking methods, such as broiling, steaming, and poaching.
     
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have published materials to help Americans learn how to follow a healthy diet. If you have any questions about guidelines for healthy eating, or whether such guidelines are right for you at this time, talk to a registered dietitian.
 
Some people need to have treatments that last a long time. Others may have surgery to remove part of their intestines. These people may have ongoing concerns related to nutrition. If you are in this situation, talk to your healthcare provider and a registered dietitian. They can give you more information about the long-term issues you may face and can help you develop an individual diet plan.
 
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