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helpful food info needed during cancer treatment
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hopefulandhelpful posted:
My husband is in his mid-50's, had chemo & radiation therapy, rectal cancer surgery and is now undergoing 6 months of follow up chemotherapy, while he continues to work a 9 to 5 day job. He is experiencing side effects from the chemo (sensitivity to cold and tingling sensations on extremities), has constant gas and frequent quick runs to the restroom. Having to run to the restroom around the clock is draining him. The gas is hard to control. What can he eat that will help this situation and what should he stay away from? Please do not tell me to ask his surgeon and oncologist because they just tell us that it is different for everyone and give us no actual foods to eat. The oncologist told him to take Imodium. Are their any books on what to eat after rectal cancer surgery? Are there any good articles? Is low fiber recommended? He can't eat fruit and vegetables and high fiber if it produces gas and the runs and one would think that a healthy diet is essential. I suggested that he take acidophilus daily to maintain a healthy balance in his intestines. He does not have a bag and we are wondering how long it will be for his bowels to return to normal. Any suggestions on nutrition would truly be appreciated! Thanks in advance for your help!
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Amelia_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hi hopeful,

I'm sorry that we no longer have a medical professional in this community, though we are in the process of finding one at the moment. I hate hearing that your husband is having such a rough time and hope that others in the community can give some advice as to a comfortable diet. From what I have read, it seems that all conditions are different as far as returning to "normal".

I'm sorry that I do not have more advice to give, but you are both in my thoughts and prayers. ((((hugs))))
Best Wishes! Amelia
 
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georgiagail responded:
We typically recommend Clear Liquids initially (juice, jello, broths, carbonated beverages) as these products contain no fiber. The diet is then slowly progressed to a lower fiber diet (fiber tends to worsen intestinal gas) with a focus on additional protein to maintain muscle and organ stores and the immune system. Luckily protein sources do not contain fiber.

A good book we'll hand out to patients is Eating Hint..Tips and Recipes for Better Nutrition During Cancer Treatment:

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/eatinghints

Gail (a dietitian in so-called real life)
 
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hopefulandhelpful replied to georgiagail's response:
Thanks, Gail - I really appreciate your help! Just curious if you know what might help minimize the tingling my husband is experiencing in his hands and feet due to the chemo. A friend told me that B-12 vitamins help minimize the tingling. Is this true? Is there someone out there doing research on this side effect? Are there any foods that help? Could you possibly lead me in the right direction in finding more info on how to combat the tingling side effects of chemo?
 
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Bettymae58 replied to hopefulandhelpful's response:
Please get in touch with Chris4life.org. We are a great organization that thinks out of the box to give support to both patients and caregivers. I know Stage IV colon cancer survivors..never give up! I hope this helps.
 
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hopefulandhelpful replied to Bettymae58's response:
Thanks, Betty Mae!
 
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Bettymae58 replied to hopefulandhelpful's response:
No problem. Michael Sapienza is the executive director and a fantastic resource!
www.chris4life.org
 
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jbearva replied to hopefulandhelpful's response:
My situation is very similar to your husband's. I have been through the radiation, surgery and chemo. Currently in remission after 1 1/2 years of treatment. My radiation oncologist recommended Culturelle (a probiotic) as I was having similar GI issues as your husband. I found taking it twice a day really helped with some of the stomach issues. I also used Imodium in a preventive manner, usually taking 2 in the morning. I found the Imodium helped greatly with cramping and other issues. I have been off of chemo for 6 weeks now and the only lingering issues are some GI issues and the neuropathy in the fingers and, especially, the feet. As for the GI issues, I still take the Culturelle once daily. I usually have about a 2 hour period during the day when I go to the bathroom about every 15 minutes. The rest of the day is usally pretty good. I do eat fruits and vegetables now and the system seems to get better with time. The neuropathy in the feet isn't getting better. I have asked my Dr.s about this and their recommendation was complex B vitamins. Other than that they said that it could be with me forever. If I understand it correctly, it is due to damaged nerves from the chemo (layman's understanding). I would love to find something to get rid of it. It doesn't hurt, but it is bothersome. Feels like my toes are frozen and I am walking on gravel. In the whole realm of things though, I can live with this. If you find anything that works, please share it. I would be more than happy to try something. Hope this helps.
 
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hopefulandhelpful replied to jbearva's response:
Thanks, for your response. My husband has just completed his 6 months of chemo and his complaints are similar to yours. His neuropathy is getting worse with each passing day.He finds it difficult to type, play guitar, open jars, peel an orange, walk,etc.He would like to experiment with acupuncture, but insurance doesn't cover this luxury.He also thinks that proper daily massage would help his condition.It's a shame no one in the medical industry is addressing this. There's is no follow up treatment after the chemo and radiation. There are so many people asking the same questions! If I find anything more out I will definitely keep in touch and let you know! Best to you!
 
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hopefulandhelpful replied to hopefulandhelpful's response:
Dear jbearva: How are you? My husband has been seeing an acupuncturist weekly and has made good progress with his neuropathy in his feet and hands. He is by no means totally cured but he has started to play piano and guitar and is forcing himself to do more. He recently tried to run around the block and has joined a public gym. He wants to use an exercise bike to sweat (which helps) and he has been told to try walking in a pool for therapy.
Apparently, because we mentioned "acupuncture" to his oncologist, he was able to offer it as a "courtesy" to my husband. Our insurance covers this "courtesy" - although I doubt it would cover "acupuncture." He is also taking WSN (Wellness Support Network brand) Nerve Support Formula B vitamins. These vitamins apparently are made with a catalyst that works more like food and goes directly into the bloodstream. Most vitamins are not absorbed into the system. These are potent B's. I tried one and felt like I was speeding--although they do not have this effect on my husband. He takes 10- 12 a day.The vitamins have methylcobalamin, thiamine, B2, B6, Folic Acid and Vitamin D3. He also takes Methyl B-12 by Jarrow Formulas, www.jarrow.com Both are from California.He recently discovered Metamucil, MultiHealth Fiber and takes it at least twice a day. He mentioned that he wished he had discovered it much sooner. His bowel movements are more normal (less runny) because of the psylllum seed husks in the Metamucil. I'm sure there are other products out there with psyllium he could also be taking instead...Metamucil has aspartame, which is cancer causing - I am trying to find a comparable product with no aspartame that tastes good. I hope this info helps!
 
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hopefulandhelpful replied to jbearva's response:
Dear jbearva: How are you? My husband has been seeing an acupuncturist weekly and has made good progress with his neuropathy in his feet and hands. He is by no means totally cured but he has started to play piano and guitar and is forcing himself to do more. He recently tried to run around the block and has joined a public gym. He wants to use an exercise bike to sweat (which helps) and he has been told to try walking in a pool for therapy.
Apparently, because we mentioned "acupuncture" to his oncologist, he was able to offer it as a "courtesy" to my husband. Our insurance covers this "courtesy" - although I doubt it would cover "acupuncture." He is also taking WSN (Wellness Support Network brand) Nerve Support Formula B vitamins. These vitamins apparently are made with a catalyst that works more like food and goes directly into the bloodstream. Most vitamins are not absorbed into the system. These are potent B's. I tried one and felt like I was speeding--although they do not have this effect on my husband. He takes 10- 12 a day.The vitamins have methylcobalamin, thiamine, B2, B6, Folic Acid and Vitamin D3. He also takes Methyl B-12 by Jarrow Formulas, www.jarrow.com Both are from California.He recently discovered Metamucil, MultiHealth Fiber and takes it at least twice a day. He mentioned that he wished he had discovered it much sooner. His bowel movements are more normal (less runny) because of the psylllum seed husks in the Metamucil. I'm sure there are other products out there with psyllium he could also be taking instead...Metamucil has aspartame, which is cancer causing - I am trying to find a comparable product with no aspartame that tastes good. I hope this info helps!
 
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Angelskye replied to hopefulandhelpful's response:
Hi hopefulandhelpful,

My husband was diagnosed with Stage IIIb colorectal cancer about a year ago when he was 32 and is having similar symptoms after his treatments. The doctors have told us pretty much the same things as you're hearing. One thing that we discovered helped him was flaxseed. We get it crushed in the "meal" form, sort of like corn meal, but it seems to do similar things as the metamucil. The great thing about flaxseed is that it's natural and in the "meal" form, you can sprinkle it on just about anything and it doesn't affect the taste. I usually mix it in with each of our meals.
 
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hopefulandhelpful replied to Angelskye's response:
Hi Angelskye,
Thanks so much for telling me about flaxseed! I'm going to give it a try.
Best,
hopefuland helful


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