Special Diet During Treatment?

Last Modified: February 11, 2011


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

Should I follow a special diet during or after treatment to make my treatment work better or prevent cancer from coming back?


Karen Wagner MS, RD, LDN, Clinical dietitian specialist for the Abramson Cancer Center, responds:

Again, please do try to speak with your doctor first on any special instructions for your treatment. Many therapies do require some diet modifications. The best information that we have at this time suggests that a diet that helps you maintain your weight during treatment will both help you feel better and ensure that you get the prescribed dosages of therapy. Additionally, making sure to stay adequately hydrated is an important part of any treatment.

At the moment there are no specific dietary restrictions or additions that are recommended across the board for patients. In general, I recommend that during treatment, unless contraindicated, do try to eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and other fiber and that is low saturated fat. If this is causing weight loss, however, I often recommend other foods. After treatment, I generally recommend for people to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes in their diets and limit smoked meats and refined carbohydrates. Please see www.aicr.org for more recommendations.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. See the full transcript of Integrating Complementary Therapies into Your Cancer Care.