Know What You Are Facing
- Loss of appetite and weight loss are experienced with all types of cancer, but according to Cancer Research UK, lung cancer patients seem to be more susceptible. Weight loss associated with lung cancer often begins before diagnosis. Six in ten lung cancer patients lose a large amount of weight before they are even diagnosed; this significant weight loss often plays a role in identifying the disease.
While going through lung cancer treatment, patients may experience anorexia, or loss of appetite--this condition is not associated with anorexia nervosa, the eating disorder--and cachexia (wasting syndrome). Cachexia usually occurs in later stages of lung cancer and cannot be reversed by simply eating more. Doctors are unsure about the causes of cachexia but believe cancer may speed up the metabolism. Working with your doctor to develop a plan to deal with loss of appetite and monitor yourself for signs of cachexia are important parts of your lung cancer treatment and managing a healthy eating plan
What to Eat
- Fruits high in flavonoids, low-fat dairy products, foods high in lutein (spinach, collards, broccoli), tomatoes and green tea have all been shown to reduce the risk of developing lung cancer. Making them a part of your diet if you have been diagnosed may help. Beyond these specific foods, there are no particular foods or lung cancer diet plans that have been shown to have an impact on treatment. Contrary to popular belief, according to the American Cancer Society, it may be appropriate for patients undergoing treatment to include high-fat, high-calorie foods into their diet alongside their healthier choices to combat weight loss.
Eating small meals several times a day can help keep your energy up, and meal replacement shakes can help if you don't feel up to a whole meal. Your doctor can help you work out a diet plan that takes into account your medical history.
What to Avoid
- Alcohol should be avoided while you are receiving treatment, but unless advised otherwise by your doctor, most foods are fair game. Be cautious about adding vitamin and mineral supplements to your eating plan. Certain vitamins and mineral supplements may interfere with your treatment, and should not be used to make up for dietary deficiencies unless otherwise specified by your doctor.