Before and after certain cancer treatments, your oncologist and cancer care team at Regional Cancer Care Associates may ask you to follow a specific diet, such as a low-residue (fiber-restricted) diet, or to eat from a specific list of foods. Adhering to these diets helps ease your healing process, as it may be more difficult to digest certain foods after a treatment.
In addition, colon cancer and colon cancer treatment can affect how the body absorbs nutrients and fluids, making it more difficult for patients to get the vital building blocks for a healthy immune system that can help fight off the cancer. That’s why it’s especially important for patients with colon cancer and survivors of colon cancer to eat nutrient-rich foods and avoid empty calories. Here’s a look at some of the general food guidelines that can help your body stay nourished while battling colon cancer.
Small Meals to Ease Digestion
Patients with colon cancer should eat small meals several times a day. This can help ease digestion and help manage some of the side effects of colon cancer treatment, such as diarrhea, acid reflux, and appetite changes. Eating smaller meals more frequently can also aid with nutrient absorption.
Drink Plenty of Water to Stay Hydrated
Your body needs ample water in order to work efficiently. Drinking plenty of water, sucking on ice chips, and eating foods high in water content can also help manage certain side effects, including constipation and fatigue. On a related note, you’ll want to avoid alcohol and caffeine, since both can lead to dehydration and may interfere with certain medications.
Avoid Sugar, Refined Carbs, and Processed Foods
Avoiding sugar and processed foods is good advice for anyone, since consuming too much sugar on a regular basis has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, depression, and the development of some cancers. But it is critical for patients with colon cancer to avoid refined carbs and other highly processed foods, as they don’t have the same nutritional value as plant-based foods and lean proteins. When you’re fighting colon cancer, you need the vitamins and minerals found in healthy foods to give your immune system a boost.
Research has also shown that consistently high levels of insulin play a role in colon cancer recurrence, and that people with diabetes are at greater risk of developing colon cancer.
Eat Protein-Rich Foods to Help with Cellular Repair
When your body is undergoing cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy, it’s important to eat a diet rich in protein because it helps repair your cells and tissue. Because digestion can be more difficult for patients with colon cancer, it’s best to stick to lean meats like chicken, as well as fish, eggs, and low-processed dairy products.
Receive Personalized Colon Cancer Care at Regional Cancer Care Associates
Your diet may need to change throughout your battle with colon cancer, depending on the type of treatment you’re receiving and other factors, so it’s important to talk with your oncologist and primary care physician to develop new plans as things change. It may be beneficial to have your oncologist refer you to a dietician, who can help you make healthy food choices. At Regional Cancer Care Associates, our goal is to give you personalized, compassionate care that’s tailored to fight your unique cancer. Contact us today to set up an appointment at one of our convenient locations throughout Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey.