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Ways to Get Back Into Eating

Even if your treatment is over and you're feeling much better, you still may not feel completely back to your old self. Here are some ways to help you ease back into regular meals and mealtimes without overdoing it:
  • Make simple meals using familiar, easy-to-prepare recipes
  • Cook enough for two or three meals, then freeze the remainder for a later meal
  • Take advantage of the supermarket's salad bar and prepared foods to make cooking easier
  • Think about ways you used to make mealtime special and try them again
  • Don't be afraid to ask a friend or family member for help with cooking or shopping.

Nutritious Recipe Ideas

You can find a number of recipe ideas by going to the eMedTV article Colon Cancer Recipes.
Table 1: How Cancer Treatments Can Affect Eating
Cancer Treatment
How It Can Affect Eating
What Sometimes Happens: Side Effects
Increases the need for good nutrition. May slow digestion. May lessen the ability of the mouth, throat, and stomach to work properly. Adequate nutrition helps wound-healing and recovery.
Before surgery, a high-protein, high-calorie diet may be prescribed if a person is underweight or weak. After surgery, some people may not be able to eat normally at first. They may receive nutrients through a needle in their vein (such as in total parenteral nutrition), or through a tube in their nose or stomach.
Radiation therapy
As it damages cancer cells, it may also affect healthy cells and healthy parts of the body.
Treatment of head, neck, chest, or breast may cause:
  • Dry mouth
  • Sore mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Change in taste of food
  • Dental problems
  • Increased phlegm.
Treatment of stomach or pelvis may cause:
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Cramps, bloating.
As it destroys cancer cells, it also may affect the digestive system and the desire or ability to eat.
Side effects may include:
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Sore mouth or throat
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Change in taste of food.
Biological therapy (immunotherapy)
As it stimulates your immune system to fight cancer cells, it can affect the desire or ability to eat.
Side effects may include:
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sore mouth
  • Severe weight loss
  • Dry mouth
  • Change in taste of food
  • Muscle aches, fatigue, fever.
Hormonal therapy
Some types can increase appetite and change how the body handles fluids.
Side effects may include:
  • Changes in appetite
  • Fluid retention.
The Zen of Cancer Caregiving - Recharge Your Batteries!

Colon Cancer Treatments

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