Helping Cancer Patients Eat

Mesothelioma patients who are in cancer treatment often complain that their senses of smell and taste are altered. This can make eating enough to maintain strength and health during treatment difficult. When undergoing mesothelioma treatment, it is important that a patient gets enough fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Cancer patients should look at food as another crucial form of medication to help them in their battle against the disease. Eating helps the body to heal and helps provide the energy that is essential to recovering from cancer treatment. When a mesothelioma patient’s senses of taste and smell make eating well difficult, here are some tips to make food more palatable.

  • Some patients find that cleansing the mouth before eating helps them enjoy the flavors of foods more. To do this, you can mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 1 quart of water, or you can swish with cool green or black tea.
  • Look for foods that have little odor, like frozen foods, cold hard-boiled eggs, smoothies and shakes, and cottage cheese. This technique is especially helpful when the smell of food causes a patient to feel nauseous.
  • In some cases, sweet foods no longer appeal to cancer patients. If this happens, try to make foods more tart or bitter. Some ways you can do this is to add cranberries to a smoothie, or to add decaffeinated coffee to vanilla or chocolate shakes.
  • Another trick to help stave off food-triggered nausea is to focus on foods that have little cooking odor and cook relatively quickly, such as eggs, oatmeal, and shakes. Also try to have the patient stay away from the kitchen when food is being cooked.
  • Sometimes cancer patients discover that they have developed a taste for flavors they did not like before treatment. If the patient is open to it, try cooking foods with new or unusual herbs or spices.
  • If a patient complains of a dulled sense of taste, you can try to make foods more flavorful. Try marinating meats and using flavored oils to add some flavor to common foods.

A healthy diet rich in calories and nutrients is very important to maintaining energy and mass during cancer treatment. If these tricks don’t work for you, try consulting an oncologist or nutritionist for other tips and tricks to help cancer patients maintain a strong diet.