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Nutrition Suggestions For People With Advanced Cancer


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© American Cancer Society 2010
  • Make the most of days when you are feeling well and your appetite is good.
  • Keep nutritious foods and drinks handy, so they're ready when you feel like eating.
  • Eat small, frequent meals and snacks every 1 to 2 hours. For example, if eating a whole sandwich seems like too much, try eating it in quarters throughout the day.
  • Eat high-protein, high-calorie foods.
  • Avoid liquids with meals to keep from feeling full early (unless needed to help with dry mouth and swallowing.)
  • Avoid the smell of foods while they are being prepared.
  • Eat the foods you like most.
  • Eat with others and at a table if possible. Make eating as much of a pleasure as you can; removing medical equipment and supplies may help improve appetitie.
  • Try some type of activity before meals if you can, to help increase appetitite.
  • Don't force yourself to eat.
  • Try to maintain your present weight, but don't feel pressured to regain weight if you have already lost some.
  • Drink enough fluids to help keep your bowels moving regularly. If constipation is a problem, ask your doctor or hospice team to recommend stool softeners or laxatives, especially if you are taking medicine for pain.
  • Just eat or drink soft or liquid foods if you're weak or tired and are having trouble swallowing. Ask your nurse or dietitian to help you know which soft foods and liquids give you as many calories and nutrients as solid foods.
  • Try liquid or powdered nutrition supplements when you don't feel like eating. They can help.
  • Take all of your medicines exacly as prescribed. Tell your doctor, nurse, or hospice care team members about any problems or questikons you have. Making changes in your medicines can cause new problems that may make any discomfort you are having worse. Your doctor may be able to suggest a simple change in the dosage or timing of your medicines that will correct problems you might have.

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