UAB Medicine News


Tips for Preventing Cancer & Managing Symptoms During Treatment

Managing Symptoms During Cancer Treatment

This guest blog was prepared by Meg Davis, MPH, RD, LD, CDE, a nutritionist and certified diabetes educator with UAB Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Ten Recommendations for Cancer Prevention

  1. Achieve a healthy weight. See other tips below for weight-management strategies.
  2. Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day. Limit sedentary habits.
  3. Eat a diet rich in plant foods. Try to fill at least two-thirds of your plate with whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans.
  4. Limit “fast food” and other processed foods high in fat, starches, or sugars.
  5. Limit red meats (such as beef, pork, and lamb) to 12-18 ounces per week, and avoid processed meats.
  6. Limit sugar-sweetened drinks. Drink mostly water and unsweetened drinks.
  7. If consumed at all, limit alcohol to two drinks per day for men and one for women.
  8. Do not use supplements to protect against cancer. Aim to meet nutritional needs through diet.
  9. For mothers, breastfeed your baby, if you can.
  10. After treatment, cancer survivors should follow these recommendations for cancer prevention.

SOURCE: American Institute for Cancer Research


Managing Symptoms During Cancer Treatment

  • Appetite changes
    • Eat small, frequent meals/snacks.
    • Drink liquids between meals and drink less during meals, to prevent feeling full early.
    • Make every bite count, and eat high-calorie/high-protein foods first.
  • Taste changesTaste Changes
    • Use plastic utensils and glass cups and plates.
    • Try hard candy (lemon drops, peppermints, etc.).
    • Use a mouthwash of baking soda, salt, and water before eating (mix 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of baking soda per quart of water).
    • Use lemon juice, ginger, or mint to offset bad tastes.
    • Experiment with new spices, seasonings, marinades, and ways of preparing food.
  • Nausea
    • Eat small, frequent meals slowly.
    • Eat dry, bland foods (crackers, toast, dry cereals, etc.).
    • Let other people cook for you, if possible.
    • Avoid foods with strong odors as well as fried, fatty, and spicy foods.
  • Fatigue
    • Drink plenty of fluids (at least 8 cups per day).
    • Take short walks or get regular exercise, if you can.
    • Eat small, frequent meals, and include protein every time you eat.
  • Constipation
    • Drink plenty of fluids (at least 8 cups per day). Hot beverages can be helpful.
    • Eat high-fiber foods (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans).
    • Increase physical activity, such as walking, if possible.
    • Use laxatives only as directed by your cancer care team.

SOURCE: American Cancer Society

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