Treatment for oral, head, and neck cancer poses unique challenges when it comes to eating. Along with the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy, you may be having difficulty chewing or swallowing. People with cancer often need to follow diets that are different from what they think of as healthy. For most people a healthy diet includes; lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, modest amounts of meats and milk products and small amounts of fat, sugar, alcohol and salt.
When you have cancer though, you need to eat to keep up your strength to deal with the side effects of treatment. When you are healthy, eating enough food is not a problem. But when you are dealing with cancer and treatment, this can be a real challenge.
When you have cancer, you may need extra protein and calories. At times, your diet may need to include extra milk, cheese, and eggs. If you have trouble chewing and swallowing, you may need to add sauces and gravies. Sometimes, you may need to eat low-fiber foods instead of those with high fiber. Your dietitian can help you with any diet changes you may need to make.
- National Cancer Institute – Eating Hints: Before, During, and After Cancer Treatment
- Cancer Diet & Nutrition Manual
- American Dietetic Association
- What To Eat During Cancer Treatment: Great-Tasting, Family-Friendly Recipes to Help You Cope
- The Cancer Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery
- Easy-to-Swallow, Easy-to-Chew Cookbook: Tasty and Nutritious Recipes for People Who Have Difficulty Swallowing