An etiquette every person is taught is to never
ask a woman her weight. For a woman diagnosed with
breast cancer, that is something she is asked often,
and a fact she is expected to track religiously.
Itís a fine line to walkóthe need to maintain a
healthy weight while combatting the lack of appetite
many cancer patients experience.
For a women living with breast cancer, food
typically becomes a necessary evil. Poor appetite,
as well as side effects of treatment (nausea,
vomiting or mouth sores), offer little incentive to
eat healthy, filling meals. Food also tastes
different, and itís difficult to eat when a person
is feeling worn out.
If a person is currently in breast cancer
treatment, or remission, what the person eats
greatly affects the efficiency of her immune system,
mood and energy.
Each day may be different than the previous or
next. A personís health and weight before diagnosis
affects the nutritional approach during treatment;
so does the type, amount and length of the cancer
treatment. Professionals recommend a patient pay
attention to their bodyís needs and the cues it
sends. Flexibility is key, as is planning ahead.
If side effects of treatment are becoming a
problem, itís important to talk to the primary
physician or recommended dietician. Dehydration,
bowel changes and a weakened immune system can all
lead to serious consequences if not addressed
A diet needs to be individualized to your loved
oneís needs. Appetite may be better in the morning
hours for someone, while another person finds small
meals throughout the day easier.
bite count is a tip you should take to heart.
Calorie-rich foods are a much better use of a good
appetite day than eating snack foods that arenít
filling. Protein is especially important, as it
helps build immunity and strength for the challenge
of cancer treatment. Small, healthy snacks are not
bad, however, between meals. String cheese, raw
veggies, and nuts are great options.
Dieticians do recommend avoiding certain foods
during intense breast cancer treatment. These
include: raw or undercooked food, raw eggs, raw
milk, soft cheeses, raw honey, sun tea and
These professionals also caution cancer patients
to avoid salad bars, delis, buffets, sidewalk
vendors and potluck gatherings. These public
situations increase the risk of contact with
improperly stored, refrigerated or handled food.
Water and liquids cannot be underestimated in
their importance during breast cancer treatments.
Sports drinks with extra electrolytes are
recommended as well. For additional calories, liquid
meal replacements are used to help keep the weight
up and calorie intake at the recommended level.
Multivitamins are important, too. Dieticians can
suggest recommendations for both.
To make life easier, buy in bulk to save trips to
the store. Keep a grocery list handy for those
visitors anxious to lend a hand during treatment.
Grocery delivery services are a popular option today
for people unable to leave home or looking to
simplify life, which a breast cancer patient surely
should do while in active treatment.
If after two days, eating is still a challenge,
itís time to call the doctor. Otherwise, know that
some days will be better than others. Itís the
overall balance that matters the most.
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