Nutrition and chemotherapy

During chemotherapy, it is recommended:

  • To drink at least two litres of water a day for a proper renal function and to help the correct expulsion of drugs.
  • During chemotherapy, a reduction of appetite is often experienced: in such cases it is advisable to have several small meals during the day.
  • In case of nausea or vomiting it is best to take dry food.
  • During chemotherapy one can experience mucosal inflammation (mucositis) at oral cavity level. In these cases, it is appropriate to take liquid or semi-liquid food at room temperature and to avoid the use of salt and spices.
  • An optimal oral hygiene with mouthwash and antifungal is highly recommended.
  • Alteration in the intestinal correct functioning is often experienced: in case of diarrhoea it is important to take simple and light food and to increase the intake of liquids in order to avoid dehydration. In case of constipation one should favour food with fibre (fruit, vegetables), whole wheat carbohydrates which contain extra fibre and a lower glycaemic index and maintain the body correctly hydrated.

Myths to be dispelled

  • “During chemotherapy, in order to strengthen the organism, it is recommended to eat a lot and high level calorie food”.
  • “High-protein diets are recommended for patients with cancer as they supply energy to muscles and give strength”.
  • “Alkalizing diets have high antioxidant and anticancer power allowing to prevent and cure cancer”.

In short, in the absence of specific problems, it is simply recommended to follow a varied diet with frequent and light meals.