Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Leukemia Diet

Nutrition and Cancer
Adequate nutrition is essential for the body to fight leukemia. Unfortunately, leukemia and its treatment can cause anorexia, weight loss and malnutrition.

There are two main goals for a cancer diet:

  • Achieve and maintain a reasonable weight.
  • Prevent and correct poor nutrition.

Strategies for evaluating weight loss and anorexia include:
  • Determine symptoms that might cause loss of appetite.
  • Learn what foods stimulate the appetite.
  • Provide nutritional and dietary counseling.

Practical dietary guidelines:
  • Atmosphere does make a difference: an attractively set table can help take your mind off a poor appetite.
  • Aromas may also help stimulate the appetite, such as freshly baked bread and cookies.
  • A glass of wine or beer prior to meals may stimulate the appetite.
  • Avoid foods that do not interest you.
  • Avoid raw eggs and raw meats.
  • Give food a chance: food that sounds unappealing today, may sound good tomorrow.
  • Eat when you feel hungry: do not wait for mealtime.

Benefits of proper nutrition during chemotherapy:
  • Improves your tolerance to therapy: a well-nourished body is stronger and more resilient than a poorly nourished one
  • Increases the effectiveness of therapy
  • Regulates your weight
  • Speeds recovery from treatment

Continue to Leukemia Pain in Adults

Last Updated: Dec 17, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Leukemia References
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  7. Pui CH, Pei D, Sandlund JT, et al. Risk of adverse events after completion of therapy for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. J Clin Oncol. 2005 Nov 1;23(31):7936-41. [16258093]
  8. Redaelli A, Botteman MF, Stephens JM, Brandt S, Pashos CL. Economic burden of acute myeloid leukemia: a literature review. Cancer Treat Rev. 2004 May;30(3):237-47. [15059647]
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