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What diet should I follow after colon cancer surgery?

Your surgeon may want you to adhere to specific diet recommendations prior to and immediately after colon cancer surgery. For example, after surgery you may not feel like eating for several days and may be placed on a liquid diet; once you are discharged from the hospital you may be instructed to eat a low-fiber diet. 

Once you have fully recovered from your colon cancer surgery, you should eat a healthy diet consisting of lean meat, fruits and vegetables, and engage in daily physical activity. These measures have been shown to significantly improve survival after colon cancer surgery. 

You don't need to follow a specific diet after colorectal surgery. Patients eating what makes them feel good works well in a supervised setting.

After colon cancer surgery, you may still be able to eat the same foods you did before; a patient’s diet depends on what portions of the colon were removed.

After colon cancer surgery, it's important to work with your doctor on developing a diet plan. Diet suggestions will differ by surgeon.

Kalli Castille, MS, RD, CSO, LD
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

In recovery of any major surgery, a diet high in healing properties should be followed. This can be added to any specific diet recommended by your physician. To help your body heal, an ample amount of protein is required. Focus on getting in 60-80 grams of protein per day for the first 6 weeks post surgery. The source of protein can vary depending on any specific diet restrictions such as clear liquid, low fiber, or high fiber.

Protein sources include any poultry, fish, meat, dairy, soy, quinoa, nuts/seeds, and legumes. Other sources of protein include protein supplements and powders. Find a registered dietitian in your area who is board certified in oncology nutrition for a more individualized diet plan.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.