Eating Hints for Cancer Patients

National Institutes of Health
National Cancer Institute


The National Cancer Institute would like to thank the numerous health professionals and patients who have assisted in and contributed to the development and review of the following information.

Your diet is an important part of your treatment for cancer. Eating the right kinds of foods during your treatment can help you feel better and stay stronger.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has prepared this guide to help you learn more about your diet needs and how to manage eating problems. Eating well is extra important when your body is fighting disease.

This guide is mainly for patients who are still receiving cancer treatment. However, it also may be useful after you finish treatment. Refer to it any time you find that eating well is a challenge.

You may not want to read all this information at one sitting. Browse through it to see which information is useful to you now. Refer to other material as needed.

Your registered dietitian, doctor, and nurse are your best sources of information about your diet. The information in here will add to their advice. Feel free to ask for their help and talk with them about changes in your diet. Ask them to explain or repeat anything that is not clear.

In the "Resources" section of the guide you will find information about other free NCI publications about cancer, its treatment, and coping with the illness. We also have listed the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the NCI-supported Cancer Information Service (CIS) (1-800-4-CANCER).

The CIS provides information about cancer, cancer treatment, research studies, and living with cancer to patients, their families, health professionals, and the public.

The "Glossary," lists and defines words that relate to diet, nutrition, and other aspects of cancer care. Click on words appearing in bold throughout the guide to go to the Glossary. Information on "Recipes for Better Nutrition During Cancer Treatment," was written to help you solve some of the nutritional problems you may have during your treatment. Many of these recipes are from patients and family members who wanted to share their tips for better eating.


1. Eating Well During Cancer Treatment

2. Managing Eating Problems During Treatment

3. Special Diets for Special Needs

4. Resources
5. Glossary
6. Recipes for Better Nutrition During Cancer Treatment