Our nutritional status can either strengthen or weaken our bodies. When diagnosed with a cancer like mesothelioma, we want to make our bodies stronger. It can help to provide support to mesothelioma treatments like chemotherapy. More importantly, it helps with the healing process after surgery.

Ultimately, the three main goals you want to achieve when diagnosed with mesothelioma, are:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Reduce treatment-related symptoms
  • Improve your quality of life

Nutrition plays a very important role in achieving those goals. A well-balanced diet gives you 100% of your daily recommended nutrients. It is understandable that treatments, as well as the cancer itself, may cause a change in appetite or nutritional needs. I am going to provide you with some suggestions and helpful tips to follow to achieve those goals.

  • 1

    Manage Your Calories

    Research shows that people who maintain their muscle and a healthy weight have fewer side effects and feel better after treatment is completed.

    • Consider having a liquid replacement meal if you feel a decrease in appetite or are fatigued. This way you are still taking in calories without having to expend the energy to chew your food.
    • Eat a substantial meal when you feel hungry.
    • Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day to reduce bloating and keep up calorie intake.
    • You may want to increase use of sauces and gravies to help aid in swallowing and reduce the amount of energy needed to chew if you are fatigued.
  • 2

    Protect Your Immune System

    Certain treatments, like chemotherapy, may lower your immunity and make you prone to infection.
    Follow these tips:

    • Consume “clean” foods. These would be foods that do not contain antibiotics, chemicals, or toxins.
    • Wash your hands and food prep surfaces often. Dedicate an area in your kitchen for raw foods. This is especially helpful in reducing the chances of infection or spreading of disease.
    • Be mindful of consuming raw or undercooked foods like meat, eggs, and fish. Buy a thermometer to check the temperature of your foods before eating. You want to try and reduce any chance of foodborne illness.
  • 3

    Increase Protein Intake

    Your doctor may tell you to increase protein in your diet. Protein is essential for healing.
    Here are a few simple ways:

    • Add hummus and/or avocado to your diet
    • Increase your egg intake and add cooked lean meats and cheese to omelets
    • Eat desserts made with eggs like custards and puddings
    • Snack on roasted nuts
    • Use nut butters instead of butter on toast, crackers, or apple slices
    • Add powdered milk to mashed potatoes, milkshakes, and soups

Photograph of Jenna for nurses corner

 

If you have any questions or need help with figuring out a nutrition plan, do not hesitate to contact me at jenna@mesotheliomaguide.com or 1-888-385-2024 x 102.

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Show Sources & Author

  1. Maureen Keane, M.S. and Daniella Chase, M.S. (2007). What to Eat if You Have Cancer. McGraw Hill.

About the Writer, Jenna Campagna, RN

Jenna Campagna is a registered nurse and patient advocate who is passionate about helping mesothelioma patients navigate their health care. Through her blogs, she aims to simplify the complicated journey through mesothelioma by offering helpful tips and advice.