Everyone can benefit from a healthy diet. Cancer patients in general and bladder cancer patients in particular need good nutrition in order to feel well, get the full benefit of cancer therapy, better tolerate side effects of treatment, and fight off infections.

Side Effects of Bladder Cancer Treatments

Some bladder cancer patients find managing their diet to be a big challenge because of the cancer itself and their bladder cancer treatment. Here’s why:

  • Surgery. Having surgery may cause you to temporarily lose your appetite and lose some weight. Especially if you are feeling weak or are underweight before surgery, keep your intake of calories, and protein in particular, up in the days and weeks leading up to the operation. This will help you get through surgery and recovery.
  • Radiation therapy. Being treated with radiation therapy (a type of directed X-ray treatment that kills cancer cells) may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or urinary discomfort.
  • Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy (drugs used to kill cancer) can also decrease your appetite by causing nausea and vomiting.
  • Biological therapy. This therapy, designed to stimulate the immune system, can irritate the bladder, causing painful urination (sometimes with blood), fatigue, nausea, or a low-grade fever or chills.

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Bladder Cancer: Eating Well to Feel Better

Try these ideas to make sure you get the nutrients you need:
• Stay positive. Most appetite-related symptoms go away over time.
• Go small. Try eating small meals more often, rather than a few large ones during the day.
• Up the protein and calories. Keep high-protein, high-calorie snacks nearby so you can have one when you feel up to it.
• Soup for you. Try soups, shakes, or smoothies instead of solid food; they go down easier.
• Be gentle on yourself. If nausea is a problem, eat foods that are easy on your stomach. These include toast, crackers, noodles, baked or broiled skinned chicken, soft and bland fruits and vegetables, clear liquids, ice chips, and carbonated drinks. How Diet May Help Reduce Bladder Cancer Recurrence

Maintaining a good diet during cancer therapy can help you heal properly and keep your weight and energy levels up. A healthy diet will also support your body’s immune function so you can fight off infection. After cancer therapy, a good nutrition plan will also help keep you healthy and reduce the risk of recurrence.

• Maintain a healthy body weight.
• Plan for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
• Avoid sugary drinks and foods, especially processed foods high in added sugar, low in fiber, or high in fat.
• Eat lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes, like beans.
• Limit the amount of red meat in your diet, like beef and lamb, and avoid processed meats.
• Limit alcoholic drinks to two for men and one for women each day.
• Limit the amount of salt in your diet.

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