• Has anyone made big changes in their diet after getting a cancer diagnosis?

    Asked by KendallHHC on Thursday, August 2, 2012

    Has anyone made big changes in their diet after getting a cancer diagnosis?

    I keep hearing about more and more people doing this. I did and it made a big difference for me while in treatment. Wondering who else has done this and what they changed?

    28 Answers from the Community

    28 answers
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      The only change I made was that I couldn't eat much while in treatment, sores in mouth, nausea, etc. So I ate whatever I could put in my mouth that wouldn't hurt or that I could eat. After treatment was over, I tried to eat as much as I could to gain weight back. My last go around, I have had to change my diet to eating soft, very liquid foods. Caseroles, spaghetti, soup, etc. The operation that was done on my throat left scar tissue and I cant swallow much now, so I eat whatever I can get down.
      I know you were probably talking about changing to eating healthy things, but no, I didn't. Should, but didn't.

      about 5 years ago
    • KendallHHC's Avatar
      KendallHHC

      Drummerboy, those are also important changes though. I had some of those things too: mouth sores and definitely nausea. Sometimes you just have to do what you can to get something down. I ended up making a lot of ice cold smoothies and added peanut butter and almond butter to help keep calories up, since I also was dealing with weight loss too.

      about 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      No, not really, but I was very happy with my diet before diagnosis. It did go to XXX in a handbasket for about 4 months when I was in chemo and there were only 3-4 different foods that I could tolerate, but since then it has pretty much gone back to the way it was before. The funny thing about nutrition is that a balance diet is good for us whether we have cancer or not. I'm fortunate that at least for now I have been able to return to a balance diet and exercise, both of which were pretty much on hold during chemo.

      about 5 years ago
    • Cindy's Avatar
      Cindy

      I switched to higher fiber foods because I had problems with constipation when going through chemo treatments. I lost weight during treatments but gained it back after treatment. My doctor wants me to lose weight now so I am now eating less.

      about 5 years ago
    • maddie1's Avatar
      maddie1

      During my treatment I wasn't able to eat much and what I did eat was either liquid or soft. Afterwards though I have changed my diet - I am eating more organic foods, less processed foods. I mostly have organic chicken & meats, veggies & fruits. As far as dairy products milk & yogurt are organic as well. I just think its a better choice than eating foods with chemicals and antibiotics pumped into them.

      about 5 years ago
    • joyce's Avatar
      joyce

      I'd be interested in hearing what kind of diet changes you made and how it's helped you.

      about 5 years ago
    • grnygole's Avatar
      grnygole

      I didn't have to have chemo, as surgery removed all of my tumor and it had not spread, but I have since read a really good book called Anti-Cancer, A New Way of Life, by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber, who survived brain cancer for 19 years. He reports on all kinds of studies showing how nutrition can help block cancer growth, going beyond the standard fruits and vegetables advice to talk of specific foods, e.g. there are much lower cancer rates in Asian countries, apparently related to high green tea consumption and turmeric in India. He also recommends the cruciform vegies and berries. The thing I found most interesting was the emphasis on balancing omegs-3's and omega 6 EFA's. The change in farming by Big Ag has led to grain-fed animals, rather than pasture fed, meaning our meat and milk now carry much higher omega-6, which helps promote inflammation in the body, a condition favorable to cancer growth. For what it's worth, I've decided to eat more of what he recommends in hopes of avoiding a relapse, and I would recommend this book to anyone currently fighting cancer.

      about 5 years ago
    • lucifee83's Avatar
      lucifee83

      My husband, currently stage4 NHL, has a different diet now, mostly due to chemotherapy. There are days he can't eat a thing. Then there are other days he's ravenous. And his tastebuds seem to have differing signals on some days. Because of that, I try to make food as spice-less as possible, so he can adjust as necessary. His sweet tooth is in overdrive - eats sugary stuff like a 3 year old.

      about 5 years ago
    • Blue's Avatar
      Blue

      I am trying to eat simply prepared foods and drink almond milk shakes blended with protein powder, yogurt and with whatever fruit I have on hand. Green tea is supposed to be an excellent immune system booster, but I notice where some Japanese green teas are grown in areas close to the Fukushima disaster yet are still being sold in U.S. markets. If anyone finds a safe source of green tea, please share it.

      about 5 years ago
    • outdoorboywa's Avatar
      outdoorboywa

      I think my diet changes have been mostly incremental over the years. After my last diagnosis though I have added a lot more green leafy into my diet, increased the amount of raw foods and sprouted foods and have been researching the GAPS diet and alkalizing diets. Trying to include as many of the highly alkalizing foods as possible and reducing the acidizing foods. I I have grown my own wheat grass and kale for smoothies. Also learning to make kombucha and other fermented foods to develop better intestinal flora. I haven't followed what was described in Crazy Sexy Cancer but was inspired by her journey. It helps that I enjoy experimenting in the kitchen and puttering in the garden.

      about 5 years ago
    • RuthAnne's Avatar
      RuthAnne

      Before I got cancer, I had a great diet - No red meat, lots of fish, whole grains & green leafies. After my diagnosis I started to eat more desserts. I still eat well, but I figured that I had denied myself for a long time and it didn't seem to make a difference - I indulge more.

      about 5 years ago
    • creimel's Avatar
      creimel

      I started drinking 1-2x per day a protein/green/vitamin shake every day. I started 2-3 weeks prior to my first round of chemo a week ago. I was down for 4 days, and the past 4 I feel pretty normal. I drink them every day. However it's hard to say if I'm feeling so good right now because of the shakes; but I think so. Also the past few days I've had a normal appetite and enjoyed a few slices of pizza the other day; boy was it good.

      about 5 years ago
    • pdgolfer's Avatar
      pdgolfer

      Yes. No Sugar. Cancer feeds on sugar. I concentrated on eating simple foods with protein. I had large masses in the abdominal area and swollen lymph glands as well. I couldn't eat very much, so I ate cottage cheese, yogurt, bananas, whey protein powder drinks and oranges. I did loose a lot of weight since I felt incredibly full just trying to eat a couple tablespoons of food, it was important to keep the protein intake as high as possible.

      about 5 years ago
    • TheEvilyn8's Avatar
      TheEvilyn8

      At first I was really keeping away from the sugars and processed foods but after my 8 or 9 ABVD treament, I found that I had to eat whatever I was able to. I have to admit sometimes that wasn't exactly healthy food.

      about 5 years ago
    • Alyce's Avatar
      Alyce

      We dropped all sugar from the diet, along with processed foods and regular meats in the grocery store. Why? My cancer is a triple positive breast cancer. It was being feed off of my own estrogen, progesterone and my own fat cells. So consuming meats that have steroids/hormones added in the growth process before being sold at market, those steroids/hormones stay in the meat and is consumed by us (one of the reasons girls are developing now at 12 years of age and sometimes sooner). So we purchased a partial cow from a local farmer who does not use steroids/hormones to get the added weight to the cow...holds true for chickens, pigs, etc. Going the same route with those products as well. Dropped sugar out because doing research, multiple research docs repeatedly show that sugar is like throwing gasoline on a fire when it comes to cancer. No pies, cakes, cookies, ice cream. No boxed foods or frozen packaged meals. Home cooked meals 99% of the time..working with a nutritionist to increase my litmus readings to get my body back in balance where it should be........End results of my efforts after 4 months....I have finished my chemotherapy (carboplatin, taxotere and herceptin).......dropped 20 pounds......tumor has gone from about the size of a golf ball....(1.76+") to where they CAN NOT physically find the tumor and they can no longer identify it on the sonogram as they could this past March when it was really obvious, physically and through the sonogram. Will no longer HAVE TO HAVE a mastectomy. Having surgery, lumpectomy, at the end of the month, to go in and try and find any physical remains of the tumor and to remove those remains with a clean margin and those remains will be tested to confirm if the cancer cells are still active or not. No sign of it in lymph nodes as well but they will do the dye test just before surgery to confirm the nodes are all ok. Does changing your diet help? We believe so and the end results support this. The same surgeon we saw in March was the same on we just saw last week. Her mind was set on mastectomy because of the March appointment. She could not believe that she could not find the tumor. No matter how hard she tried to locate it, she could not. She was having a hard time re-adjusting her thinking that a mastectomy was no longer needed but a lumpectomy was the new option. <:)

      about 5 years ago
    • shopaholic25's Avatar
      shopaholic25

      I've been eating more sweets also, especially cookies & dark chocolate. After radiation, food didn't taste good. That stopped. Now that I take Tarceva, I have diarrhea and I'm not supposed to eat raw veggies (some cooked also) and fiber. I have to check my weight everyday to make sure that I'm not losing. I've had diarrhea when I drank Ensure, but I can tolerate ice cream. I don't feel like cooking for myself either, so I try to go out to eat with friends or I eat crackers with chicken salad & cheese. I belonged to 2 ladies' golf leagues (can't golf now...boo! hoo!), and I have lunch with the golfers. My "dinner" tonight is dippeing apples in peanut butter. I tried to eat cherries today but my stomach couldn't tolerate them. I just don't know what food my stomach can tolerate anymore.

      about 5 years ago
    • Fab50FA's Avatar
      Fab50FA

      While going through treatments Frostys and also frozen seedless grapes. It actually was nutritious and the cold helped with the mouth sores and dry mouth. Since my treatments have become a vegetarian.

      about 5 years ago
    • thekimmyest's Avatar
      thekimmyest

      No meat, no alcohol, no soda! very tough!

      about 5 years ago
    • Jopet24's Avatar
      Jopet24

      I don't have any plans on diet, but you need to have an exercise even just walking. You need to eat what your still alive, you only live once make the best of it, don't think that food will affect your health, just live your life to the fullest and always be happy don't limit yourself. Do everything you want, eat anything you want and drink anything you want. God has plans.

      about 5 years ago
    • KatysMa's Avatar
      KatysMa

      I had DCIS a form of breast cancer. Since it was caught early I only had surgery , a mastectomy and did not need radiation or chemo. I did take tamoxifen for 5 yrs. I've made changes mostly concerning leafy greens and other veggies, such as Kale , I never knew it existed before cancer. I have always loved tomatoes so no problem there. I eat a lot more fruit now where before I never use to really like fruits do to the acidity but I try new things and find what I like. Mostly I just t try to eat healthier to keep weight controlled. I stay away from as much processed stuff as I can but eating healthy does tend to cost more. I almost went vegetarian but still eat eggs , fish and chicken occasionally. I love milk but switched to fat free and I also love Silk however I am confused on the soy concerning cancer. Some articles say yes and some no. I think I am the no category as my ONC said no soy supplements for menopause symptoms. I turned to whole wheat and whole grains breads and cereals. Eventually left bread altogether to lean more toward flat breads and pitas making veggie sandwiches or using falafil mix . I discovered hummus also and the real treat is just trying new things where before on a meat and potato diet I never would have considered. I love the Mediterranean foods I have tasted so far. I am now giving the gluten free aisle a try to transition from so much wheat products to nut and rice items. Don't get me wrong , I do still eat junk now and then , it can't be helped when it is so convenient like a big mac or pizza but then I get back on track for the week. I cook beef and pork dinners for the family who insist it won't kill them and even though they try my kind of food , they insist they are still hungry after. I sometimes replace regular pasta with whole wheat or use turkey in place of beef for them but I can't get away with it too much. One thing we all agree on is turkey bacon is as good as real bacon , if you haven't tried it don't knock it , especially on a a BLT. Also I never was big soda drinker but will have a glass now and then. I mostly drink water or gator/power ade type drinks especially during humid summer weather. One thing I changed drastically but then changed back was drinking. I used the cancer and also the concern for heart disease in women as an excuse to enjoy some red wine. I never use to drink before this and unfortunately began enjoying it too much. So I have stopped the intake of alcoholic beverages and now drink instead a variety of juices mostly the Ocean Spray brand. Lots of yummy flavors and I never would have tried them if not for cancer.

      about 5 years ago
    • KatysMa's Avatar
      KatysMa

      I had DCIS a form of breast cancer. Since it was caught early I only had surgery , a mastectomy and did not need radiation or chemo. I did take tamoxifen for 5 yrs. I've made changes mostly concerning leafy greens and other veggies, such as Kale , I never knew it existed before cancer. I have always loved tomatoes so no problem there. I eat a lot more fruit now where before I never use to really like fruits do to the acidity but I try new things and find what I like. Mostly I just t try to eat healthier to keep weight controlled. I stay away from as much processed stuff as I can but eating healthy does tend to cost more. I almost went vegetarian but still eat eggs , fish and chicken occasionally. I love milk but switched to fat free and I also love Silk however I am confused on the soy concerning cancer. Some articles say yes and some no. I think I am the no category as my ONC said no soy supplements for menopause symptoms. I turned to whole wheat and whole grains breads and cereals. Eventually left bread altogether to lean more toward flat breads and pitas making veggie sandwiches or using falafil mix . I discovered hummus also and the real treat is just trying new things where before on a meat and potato diet I never would have considered. I love the Mediterranean foods I have tasted so far. I am now giving the gluten free aisle a try to transition from so much wheat products to nut and rice items. Don't get me wrong , I do still eat junk now and then , it can't be helped when it is so convenient like a big mac or pizza but then I get back on track for the week. I cook beef and pork dinners for the family who insist it won't kill them and even though they try my kind of food , they insist they are still hungry after. I sometimes replace regular pasta with whole wheat or use turkey in place of beef for them but I can't get away with it too much. One thing we all agree on is turkey bacon is as good as real bacon , if you haven't tried it don't knock it , especially on a a BLT. Also I never was big soda drinker but will have a glass now and then. I mostly drink water or gator/power ade type drinks especially during humid summer weather. One thing I changed drastically but then changed back was drinking. I used the cancer and also the concern for heart disease in women as an excuse to enjoy some red wine. I never use to drink before this and unfortunately began enjoying it too much. So I have stopped the intake of alcoholic beverages and now drink instead a variety of juices mostly the Ocean Spray brand. Lots of yummy flavors and I never would have tried them if not for cancer.

      about 5 years ago
    • WonderKitty's Avatar
      WonderKitty

      I had friends with the same diagnosis that were told to make big changes in what they ate. Like no salad. I was not told anything like that. I was told to eat right, not a lot of junk, and to avoid anitoxidants, cause they were fighting my cancer with oxygen, and that would be counter productive. The biggest changes in my diet came during treatment, when I didn't really want to eat anything. Mostly I ate cottage and string cheese, plain pasta and grilled cheese sandwiches. We called it the Cheese and Carbs diet.

      about 5 years ago
    • DougG's Avatar
      DougG

      I did, but not big changes. Ate a lot of brocalli -sp?, califlower, and brussel sprouts with my meals. I just got away from fatty, fried foods and moved to healthy meats and a lot greens.

      about 5 years ago
    • RNTracyOCN's Avatar
      RNTracyOCN

      Check out 365daysofkale website. It's by a cancer survivor and dietician. Kale rocks.

      about 5 years ago
    • Modern's Avatar
      Modern

      when i started treatment my mababolism sped up and i started splitting each meal into two so i had six small meals instead of three big ones.

      about 5 years ago
    • Onoi11's Avatar
      Onoi11

      Dear Kendell, I have a friend in Europe, early 40's, who learned about six years ago that she had Hodgkin's disease. She went on a diet of organic veggies and fruits with fresh fish for protein, and also uses unadulterated olive oil from her family's olive groves. She is careful about using natural soaps and shampoo and tries to stay away from chemicals. She continues to do well. I can't prove that her dietary habits have helped but it wouldn't surprise me if they have.

      almost 5 years ago
    • nitesh's Avatar
      nitesh

      Our 15 years old daughter was diagnosed with stage IV and our family diet has been Vegetarian and all organic for last 10 years! Still we continue to stay on same path diet wise. Even when she was healthy she hardly had carbonated or for that matter any process food. During her chemo we had to give her whatever she wanted as long as it had lots of fat and protein. so mainly lots of protein shakes and chicken! Meanwhile, mum kept her intake of daily greens including wheatgrass, aloe, mint etc. As of last month the results came back as cancer free!!! yeah...but now her diet includes more greens and fruits...and of course to support her we eat with her too including her 13 year old brother!! No matter how bitter it taste or how bad it looks/smells!!!

      over 4 years ago
    • Leo4life's Avatar
      Leo4life

      I eat healthy now because I am more aware of how "bad" foods are just not good for me and I would rather live another day than eat sugar and fried foods everyday. I'm not perfect, I do eat sugar sometimes but its only a treat and not every day. I'm starting a garden this year so I can spend less and eat fresh.

      over 3 years ago

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