Managing Symptoms



It is not uncommon to experience side effects while undergoing cancer treatment. This page offers general suggestions on ways to manage common nutrition-related side effects of cancer treatment. For specific nutrition information that is tailored to your particular needs and preferences, you should meet with a registered dietitian.


Tips for Poor Appetite (Anorexia):

  • Eat several small, meals throughout the day
  • Snack on foods that are high in calories and protein such as: peanut butter, yogurt, granola bars, liquid nutritional supplements, canned tuna or chicken, and trail mix are examples of high protein/high calorie snacks.
  • Try to eat more of the foods that you enjoy


Tips for Taste & Smell Alterations:

  • Taste
    • Season foods with herbs & spices. Take caution if you have a sore mouth.
    • Rinse your mouth to remove bad tastes using water or baking soda mixture(3/4tsp salt and 1tsp baking soda in 4cups water), swish this mixture in your mouth then spit it out.
    • Try marinating meats before cooking
  • Smell
    • Cover beverages and drink through a straw
    • Eat cool or room temperature foods
    • Choose rooms that are well-ventilated when eating

Watch our video on Taste Alterations with Chemotherapy on our YouTube Channel:


Tips for Sore/Dry Mouth:

  • Eat soft, moist foods such as watermelons, canned fruit and applesauce
  • Use gravies or mild flavored sauces to moisten foods
  • Sip water often throughout the day

Watch this video on Managing Mouth Sores:


Tips for Nausea & Vomiting:


  • Drink clear liquids such as fruit juices, flat sugar-sweetened soda, and soup broths.
  • Eat foods that are bland: crackers, cream of wheat, rice, toast or bread sticks
  • Avoid greasy, high fat foods such as french fries, fried chicken, hamburgers, mozzarella sticks.


  • Wait at least 30 minutes after the vomiting episode to try and drink clear liquids such as fruit juices, flat sodas, or soup broths.


Tips for Constipation:

  • Try to eat at the same time each day
  • Enjoy a hot beverage, such as apple juice.
  • As you are able, be physically active. Begin slowly by standing up during commercial breaks while watching TV. Try to work your way up to walking around the house and outside for 30 minutes a day


Tips for Diarrhea:

  • Diarrhea management
  • Replace fluids lost with diarrhea; drink 1 cup of liquid after each loose bowel movement.
  • Eat foods that provide sodium: broth, soups, salted pretzels and crackers.
  • Drink and eat higher potassium foods including: bananas, sweet potatoes, beans, beets, carrot juice


Tips for Fatigue:



Content on this page is for general information purposes only and should not replace consultation with a healthcare professional. Always consult your physician before using dietary supplements or changing your diet.

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