Nutrition Side Effects & Chemotherapy

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Is there a good website that talks about food and side effects from chemotherapies and biotherapies?

Cancer and its treatment can change what we eat and drink. Chemotherapy and biotherapy affect people in different ways. The good news is that not everyone has side effects. Also, side effects get better or go away when treatment is over.

The type of side effects and when they happen depends upon the type, amount, how often and how long treatment is. Common food related side effects include: loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, changes in bowel habits, tiredness, changes in taste and smell, mouth sores, and low blood cell counts. Your health care team will tell you what to expect and when side effects may happen.

Also, your health care team has many ways to prevent and treat side effects. It’s helpful to take notes or use a “symptom tracker” for a few days after treatment. This can help you remember how you felt so you can talk with your health care team about how to manage your side effects.

There are many tips and tricks to make eating and drinking easier. A registered dietitian who is a Specialist in Oncology Nutrition (CSO) can talk with you about what to eat and drink and how to manage side effects.

The following websites have information on the type of side effects that happen with chemotherapy and biotherapy.

The original question and answer were generously donated by Diana Dyer, MS, RD a cancer survivor, registered dietitian, organic garlic farmer, and the author of "A Dietitian's Cancer Story: Information & Inspiration for Recovery & Healing from a 3-time Cancer Survivor.

Question and Answer updated by Jane Motler, MHCS, RDN, CSO on behalf of the ON DPG

Page Updated: October 2018