Diagnosed
Nutrition

Before Treatment

People often ask what they should eat when they have cancer. There's no eating plan that's proven to cure cancer and there are no special food to eat or avoid if you have cancer.
 
Treatment for cancer can place extra demands on your body, making eating well more important than ever. Good nutrition helps you get the most benefit from your treatment.
 
Have a dental check–up before treatment to ensure your teeth are in good condition, and to identify any possible problems before you begin your treatment. This is particularly important if you're having radiation to the head or neck, as this can impact on the health of your teeth.
 
After treatment your mouth and gums may be too sensitive for dental work. Your dentist, nurse or doctor can advise you of the best way to care for your teeth and mouth before, during and after your treatment.
 
Discuss any changes to your diet and any vitamin, herbal or nutritional supplements you're taking with your doctor and dietitian before starting treatment. If you smoke or drink alcohol, inform your doctor before you start treatment.
  • If you're underweight, this is a good opportunity to gain weight so you start your treatment at a healthy weight.
  • If you're losing weight without trying ask your doctor for a referral to a dietitian.
  • If you're overweight or trying to lose weight, change your focus to weight maintenance before and during your treatment.
  • If you're having no problems eating before treatment, follow the guidelines for healthy eating (which are the same as after treatment), check and aim to maintain your weight.
  • Plan ahead to make your treatment period as easy as possible. Friends and family often ask what they can do to help, so ask a friend or relative to do your grocery shopping for a few weeks or make up some frozen meals that you can reheat if you don’t feel like cooking.
  • Book in with your dentist for a check–up before starting treatment.