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Your body uses up more energy than usual during cancer treatments. That’s because surgery, along with chemotherapy and radiation, can all be very hard on your body. Getting adequate nutrition can help you feel better, keep your weight up, and cope with the side effects of treatment. But that’s often easier said than done.

Lack of appetite, caused by anything from taste changes to exhaustion, is common during cancer treatment. But unwanted weight loss can hamper healing and potentially cause other health problems. Try to eat, even if you don’t feel like it.

Here are some suggestions for eating well during cancer treatments:

  • Eat small meals during the day.
  • Don’t wait until you’re hungry to eat. Instead, establish a set schedule of certain times you’ll eat during the day and stick to it. Having your pantry stocked with your favorite foods will help too.
  • Eat well during your “up” times. Don’t worry about consuming too many calories as you may need them when you’re not feeling up to eating.
  • Carry a bottle of Ensure® with you and open one whenever you feel hungry. While no refrigeration is necessary, you may find it tastes better when chilled. It also makes for an energizing snack between meals or a tasty way to satisfy your sweet tooth in place of a dessert.
  • You can also take Ensure® in small amounts with your medications. However, since some medications are less effective when taken with food, confirm this with your pharmacist first.

Remember — there are many different types of cancer and treatment options. So what you eat during cancer treatment will be tailored to you. During this time, it is important to listen to your doctor and dietitian because your diet may need to be modified according to your treatment or side effects.

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