Colon cancer diet restrictions center around minimizing high fiber fruits, vegetables, cereals and grains. But these foods are the building blocks of good nutrition. You need to familiarize yourself with the various reactions which you may have during treatment, and understand what you can do to minimize the reactions.
Colon Cancer Diet During Treatment
Surgery, combined with post-surgical treatments, will require patience. Your body needs time to get used to the internal changes from the surgery and the often uncomfortable aftereffects of the radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
You might be tempted to stop eating, but that only causes a new problem – malnutrition. Your body loses healthy cells during radiation and chemotherapy and needs good nutrition to repair the cells. It is critical that you maintain balanced nutritional levels throughout your treatments and while your body fights the cancer.
Adjusting to eating will be difficult whether you have had a colostomy or just part of your bowel removed. Your doctor will probably initially put you on a liquid no-fiber diet containing necessary nutrients. While in the hospital experiment with foods to see which foods your system can and cannot tolerate and by the time you go home, you should be able to eat fairly normally.
Doctors often recommend that you avoid foods that cause your system to work overtime such as:
- Fruits or fruit juice
- High fiber vegetables
- Whole grain cereals and breads
- Carbonated drinks and beer
- Rich or fatty foods
As you move onto more solid foods, your doctor may continue to recommend a liquid nutritional supplement to provide a boost to the nutrition you receive. Even if a certain food bothers you at first, you may be able to eat it several months later.
As you continue through the radiotherapy treatments you will probably have diarrhea. This could continue for as long as four weeks. Some of this is caused by the low fiber diet that your doctor will put you on. As your digestion starts to settle down, your doctor will have you reintroduce some fruits and vegetables, still keeping you within the colon cancer diet guidelines. This should help minimize, or alleviate, the diarrhea.
Chemo can cause a variety of side effects including:
- Diarrhea – As with radiotherapy, diarrhea is usually caused by the no and low fiber diets following the surgery.
- Nausea and vomiting – Eat smaller meals and sip prescribed nutritional drinks throughout the day to keep something in your stomach. Avoid hot meals since they tend to be more aromatic, which might increase nausea.
- Loss of appetite – Much of this is caused by fatigue combined with concern about the nausea and vomiting that might occur after eating. Try eating earlier in the day when you feel the best.
- Metallic taste in your mouth – Try using plastic utensils to minimize the metallic taste and to help you taste the food.
- Fatigue – Rest after the treatment and for the following day, if necessary. Don’t plan to slip chemotherapy treatments into a busy schedule.
These side effects go away when you have finished chemo treatments and once you are back on a higher fiber diet.