Being treated for cancer involves more than undergoing radiation therapy. It also requires eating a healthy, nourishing diet before, during and after your treatment.
While you may not have a voracious appetite while undergoing radiotherapy, it is important NOT to diet. You don’t want to lose weight during this time. That’s because your radiotherapy plan is specific to your size and shape – and if your weight changes, your plan may need to be repeated.
Foods to Optimize Your Radiation Therapy
It’s important to eat high-energy and high-protein foods such as meat, fish, eggs, plus beans and dairy products including cheese and full-fat milk. If you don’t have much of an appetite and find that you’re not eating enough, you can boost your energy and protein intake by having soup or high-energy drinks such as milkshakes. Or, you can add high-protein powders to your food as prescribed by your doctor.
Another way to maintain your weight during radiotherapy is by eating high-fat foods, since there are more calories in fat than in protein or carbohydrates.
Besides eating enough solid food, you should drink plenty of fluids – up to three liters per day if you can – as hydration will help your body heal following radiotherapy.
How Can I Eat Enough Calories?
If you find you’re having trouble eating during your therapy, try these tips:
- Eat small meals or snacks, but more often.
- If swallowing is difficult, switch to a soft or liquid diet.
- Avoid spicy foods and alcohol if you have a sore mouth or a sensitive stomach.
- Let the radiotherapy staff know about your eating or drinking issues so they can arrange for a dietician to help you.
- Ask your radiologist about taking food supplements.
We’re Here to Help with Your Radiation Therapy
At The CyberKnife® Center of Miami, our team of highly trained radiation oncologists, surgeons, medical physicists, and radiation therapists oversee your entire procedure and can answer any questions you may have regarding your dietary options while undergoing treatment.
Fortunately, with the painless CyberKnife Radiotherapy System, there are few if any minor side effects that may affect your eating habits. Unlike conventional radiation therapy, the CyberKnife System uses image-guided robotics to precisely and non-invasively destroy cancerous and non-cancerous tumors and other lesions with multiple beams of high-energy radiation, without affecting surrounding organs and tissues – including those in your digestive system.
Also, the anesthesia used in conventional radiation therapy can cause nausea and constipation. However, there is no anesthesia with the CyberKnife procedure, so there are none of these effects and no recovery time is required. What’s more, your treatment can be completed in just one to five 30- to 90-minute sessions instead of many multiple treatments lasting weeks or months. There is no downtime and little disruption to your normal life, other then getting to your treatment session.
Our dedicated staff at the CyberKnife Center of Miami would love to talk to you about your treatment options and help you on your journey to recovery. Call (800) 204-0455 or (305) 279-2900, or fill out our online form today to make an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you.