Lung Cancer and Diet and Nutrition

Katrina Claghorn, MS, RD
Last Modified: December 2, 2001

What would you recommend for a lung cancer patient, taking chemotherapy as far as diet and nutrition are concerned? Can diet and nutrition contribute to improvement?

Katrina Claghorn, MS, RD, registered dietitian at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

The goal during chemotherapy is to eat as well as possible. We would encourage a healthy diet that includes plenty of protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. However, tolerating this perfect diet while getting chemotherapy may be difficult. During cancer treatment our focus shifts to ensuring the patient is getting enough calories to prevent weight loss, enough protein to maintain the body's protein stores and adequate fluid to prevent dehydration. Maintaining your nutrition status during treatment will provide you with more energy and help you respond to treatment better.

You might ask your physician to refer you to a dietitian, or nurse who is specialized in nutrition, who can work with you during your treatment and help adjust your diet should you experience side effects or weight changes.

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