Nutrition Before During and After Cancer

Information on nutritional needs for cancer patients

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Pancreatic Cancer and Nutrition

Observe World Pancreatic Cancer Day by wearing 

Purple for a Purpose

PanCan Ribbon

November 13th is the world pancreatic cancer day. Worldwide there are around 280,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer each year and it is the seventh biggest cancer killer.

This cancer is chronically underfunded category for far too long. This is reflected in the dire survival rates between 3 to 6%, which haven’t improved for more than 40 years.

Pancreatic cancer affects the body’s pancreas, a small organ that plays a large role in digestion. Located deep within the abdomen, the pancreas sits between the stomach and the spine.


The pancreas secretes pancreatic fluid into the small intestine, pancreatic fluid helps digest foods that have been consumed. In cooperation with the small intestine’s digestive juices, the pancreatic fluid breaks down proteins, carbohydrates and fats, along with neutralizing the highly acidic stomach acid. The pancreas also releases hormones that help control blood-sugar level.

Maintaining proper nutrition while fighting pancreatic cancer is essential for the overall health and well-being. Proper nutrition helps enhance the immune system, improve strength, rebuild body tissues and decreases risk of developing infections. Even if you do not feel hungry, it is still important to fuel your body with high-calorie and high protein foods throughout the day.


Diet Tips

Since the pancreas is responsible for digesting foods, pancreatic cancer affects the body’s ability to absorb necessary nutrients from food. If nutrient absorption is affected for too long, the body could enter a state of malnutrition.

Pancreatic cancer also affects the organ’s ability to regulate blood-sugar levels, placing the body at a greater risk for developing diabetes.

Chemo Diet

Before your cancer treatment begins, fill your kitchen with healthy foods. Once treatment starts, you might experience unusual fatigue and weakness, making grocery shopping and meal preparation difficult. If necessary, ask friends and family members to help you prepare meals throughout your treatment. Aim to eat several small meals throughout the day with emphasis on Protein, carbohydrates and fat, in that order. If you simply cannot manage to eat many solid foods, use liquid supplements as meal replacement and/or snacks.

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Nutritious and Calorie-dense Food

During treatment when eating becomes difficult, foods that are calorically dense offer the highest number of calories, or energy, in the smallest amount or serving size, these food items offer other health benefits, in addition to calories.

Granola with Almonds


Ready-to-eat breakfast cereals are usually low in calories, but add in sugar and fat, and they become high-calorie. Although considered a fiber-rich whole grain, commercially prepared granola, with nuts, has more than 500 calories per cup.

Goat Cheese


Cheese, including goat cheese, is an excellent source of calcium, providing 25 percent of the recommended daily value (DV)  per ounce. A 1-oz serving–about the size of two dice–of hard goat cheese has nearly 130 calories.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia Nuts

Nuts are nutritious, and offer heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Dry-roasted macadamia nuts are an excellent source of iron, as well as B vitamins and other nutrients. A 1/2 cup of halved nuts provides about 470 calories.

Almond Butter

Almond Butter

Almond butter is one of several popular nut butters. Almond butter is a good food source of magnesium and manganese. A small serving, 2 tbsp., offers about 204 calories.



An avocado is a fruit. It is the highest calorie fruit in existence. One whole avocado, of any variety (about 7 oz.) offers 325 calories and 30g of fat. Nearly all of the fat is monounsaturated, which is heart-healthy. Avocados are an excellent source of vitamin C and dietary fiber.

Fruit Smoothies


Smoothies, made from juice and fruit, are vitamin-rich, but can be high in calories from sugar, expect to consume more than 350 calories (on average) for, 16-oz. smoothie.



Peanuts are a legume. Like nuts, they are rich in calories and many nutrients. A 1/2 cup of dry roasted peanuts provides about 425 calories, making them calorically dense. Peanuts are rich in iron and unsaturated fats.

Banana Chips


Banana chips are not really a fruit, but a high-calorie snack. While they are a good food source of nutrients such as manganese, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6, a 3-oz serving of banana chips offer nearly 450 calories, and are high in saturated fat.

Dried Fruits


Dried fruits are naturally high in calories because the water is removed. For example, a 1/2 cup of chopped, pitted dates offers 251 calories, 1/2 cup of raisins over 217 calories, and the same amount of dried figs offers 248 calories. All are rich in fiber and iron.

Bran Muffins

Muffins offer vitamins and dietary fiber, typically a lot of calories and fat because they are so large. A bran muffin from a bakery (about 3.5 oz.) offers more than 300 calories and 10 grams of fat.