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Why is nutrition so important for people with cancer?

Food is the fuel to your body. Nutrient dense foods provides your body the best fuel to ensure it fuctions properly.  To find out what foods are best for a specfic type of cancer, see a Registered Dietitian who is board certified in oncology nutrition. Studies show that 30% of all cancers could be prevented with diet and lifestyle choices such as exercise. With cancer, nutrition can reduce common side effects of traditional cancer treatments, and boost your immune system to better fight the disease. 
When you're fighting cancer, good nutrition is an important part of your treatment.  Eating the right kinds of foods before, during, and after treatment can help you tolerate your treatment better and give you more strength for recovery and healing.  A well-rounded diet that provides adequate calories and protein will help prevent body tissue from breaking down, help fight off infection, and help you cope with higher doses of cancer treatment. 
If you are undergoing cancer therapy and are having difficulty eating a nutritious diet, talk to your registered dietitian for tips on how to manage side effects and increase the amount of calories and protein in the foods you eat.
Cancer and the treatments for cancer make big demands on your body. Eating healthy is especially important at this time. You need to supply your body with enough fuel so that it can repair and heal.

Eating the same types and amount of food that you enjoyed before your diagnosis may change or become difficult. Eating less is the usual response to cancer treatment, but eating more is not uncommon either.

Side effects of cancer therapy may affect your eating habits. Some foods may taste less appealing. Also, dietary problems that you had before your diagnosis may be aggravated by cancer and its treatment.

To obtain the nutrients and other substances needed in your recovery, vary the foods that you eat. Foods contain combinations of nutrients and other healthful substances. No single food can supply all of the nutrients in the amount that you need. The food pyramid can help guide you. Many liquid meal replacement beverages also can help meet your protein requirements during cancer treatment.

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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.