Lung cancer claims a major proportion of deaths caused by all types of cancer worldwide. Tobacco is by far the biggest threat, but air pollution is a risk factor, too. People who live in areas with a lot of it are more likely to get lung cancer than those who live where the air is cleaner.
After-effects of Lung Cancer
The patients are likely to suffer from conditions like shortness of breath, hair loss, bleeding or clotting problems, fatigue and infections. In the later stages of lung cancer, the cancer starts spreading over to other parts like digestive tract, ribs, stomach etc. The treatment methods like chemotherapy deteriorate immune system in the patients. Patient tends to suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms such as lack of appetite, diarrhea and nausea. The most irksome condition is when the patient finds it difficult to swallow food due to pain and tenderness in the throat. Therefore, it is indispensable for a lung cancer patient to follow a suitable diet.
There is no diet plan that could be generally prescribed for a patient suffering from lung cancer. Every patient will have nutritional needs based on the stage of the lung cancer they are in and the treatment plan they are following. Other factors considered are patient’s current height and weight, and if he is suffering from any other illnesses such as diabetes or heart disease.
Right Diet is the Key
The patient must have a diet with a variety of soft or semi-soft foods to avoid irritation of the tender throat. The patient must strictly avoid acidic or spicy foods (such as citrus fruits and tomato-based foods) and foods with rough textures or sharp edges, such as raw fruits and vegetables or crackers. More importantly, how the meals are prepared can also make a huge difference. Following are some more dietary tips:
- Eat steamed vegetables as they are soft and easier to chew and swallow.
- Eat frequent, smaller meals throughout the day.
- Try thicker liquids — instead of a glass of milk, try a milkshake, which can be easier to swallow. Soups thickened with blended potatoes are also a good choice.
- Drinks plenty of fluids, but have them between meals, not with the meals.
- Avoid food that is very hot or very cold.
- Include foods with only high-calorie and rich in protein to promote healing.
- Eat high fiber foods to help relieve constipation.
- Eat bland foods if your stomach is upset or your mouth hurts. Serving them at room temperature can help ease nausea as well. A bland diet is made up of foods that are soft, not very spicy and low in fiber such as low-fat dairy products, pasta, rice, oatmeal, poultry, lean fish and shellfish that is steamed, baked or grilled with no added fat, weak tea etc.
And then some..
Consulting a professional dietician would be an ideal choice for following a regulated, balanced-diet. This will help the patients in sustaining a healthy weight and to prevent aggravating the side effects of lung cancer like mouth sores, diarrhoea and constipation. They would also suggest probiotic supplements in adequate amounts for bolstering gastrointestinal and immune health. It is also necessary to constantly check their sugar consumption as the patients undergoing treatment have their sugar levels on the higher side. All of these will help fight the disease efficiently by keeping up energy and immunity levels in the patients.
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