Eating concerns and cancer
If you are suffering from cancer, there are likely to be times when you feel very weak, your energy levels are down, and you cannot face eating. This may be due to the cancer itself or the treatment you are receiving (see Diets and cancer).
This may happen if your body is unable to properly absorb nutrients in the normal way. Malabsorption can lead to weight loss because the body does not get the nutrients it requires. Many disorders can cause malabsorption, and it can be treated. The most common symptoms include diarrhoea, dehydration, fatigue, and weight loss. To avoid malnutrition, discuss your diet with your doctor or a state-registered dietitian.
The feeling of being full after just a small amount of food is quite common. However, this will quickly lead to weight loss if you do not get enough calories to sustain you. You must make sure you do not become malnourished, so try to eat little but often. Choose small snacks that are packed with vital nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to boost your calorie intake, give you energy, and prevent weight loss (see Snacks when you are ill with cancer).
Loss of appetite
As with feeling full after a small meal, loss of appetite is a common side effect among people with cancer. You may start to lose interest in food, or your appetite may decrease due to pain, nausea, or vomiting (see Diets and cancer), or because you are anxious or depressed about having cancer. Remember that for your body to be strong enough to fight against your condition you need energy. Even if you do not feel like eating, prepare something small that has an appetizing aroma to stimulate your appetite, such as home-made chicken noodle soup or a high-protein snack (see High-calorie meals to counteract weight loss in COPD and Snacks when you are ill with cancer for ideas).
Snacks when you are ill with cancer
- Cereal with fruit and whole milk
- Fruit yogurt with muesli
- Instant porridge with raisins
- Soup with a bread roll
- Cream cheese on an English muffin or crumpet
- Soft flour tortilla (wrap) filled with melted cheese
- Mixed nuts and crackers
Get more on this subject…