Just some “food for thought” on nutrition and physical activity for survivors and thrivers. A cancer journey involves a ‘village’ of health care team members. Talk with your care team about nutrition and exercise and make the best choices for YOU. What we eat and how we keep active can have a valuable impact on survivorship and thrivership.
A. Good nutrition is important during and after cancer treatment.
Integrative medicine offers dietitians who can be a liaison with your oncologist/oncology team. It is worth it to have a conversation about the role of nutrition…
- What to eat
- What to stay away from
- What enhances the immune system
- What reduces inflammation in the body.
A great website is Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group, which has good information for patients and caregivers as well as dietitians.
The following resources are have been hand selected by our registered dietitians here at Dana-Farber. The list below includes videos, books, websites, and educational materials that we recommend consulting for additional information about living a balanced and healthful life.
Nutrition videosIn this series of short videos, Nutritionist Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, answers questions about nutrition during cancer treatment.
- What Foods Should Patients Avoid During Cancer Treatment?
- Should Cancer Patients Avoid Soy?
- Should Cancer Patients Take Vitamins and Supplements?
- How to Lose Weight During Cancer Treatment
- How to Cope with Taste Changes During Cancer Treatment
- How to Cope with Appetite Loss During Cancer Treatment
- How to Boost Energy During Cancer Treatment
- Essential Items for a Cancer Patient’s Pantry
- Best Diet for Patients Who Have Trouble Chewing or Swallowing
- What Are the Best Foods to Eat Before and After Surgery
Books, education materials, and websites
B. Physical Activity
Pick the level of activity that is right for you, with advice from your oncologist/oncology team
- Examples of Light activity – washing dishes, walking slowly, preparing food, making the bed
- Examples of Moderate activity – gardening, walking a bit more briskly and taking deep breaths (walking the dog); exercising while sitting or lying in bed; marching in place while you are watching TV; using exercise bands to stretch your arms/legs
- Examples of Vigorous activity – jogging, jumping rope, swimming
The American Cancer Society, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend:
- Avoid inactivity – any kind of physical activity can help.
- Be regularly active – each week, set a goal for yourself – X number of minutes of exercise, and spread out the activities you choose throughout the week
- Include strength training – light weights and muscle-building exercise at least 2 days a week
- Short sessions help if your energy level is low and time is short. Several short, 10-minute sessions equate to one long exercise session.
- Start slow – slowly increase the length and intensity of the physical activity you choose to start out with.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER = PATIENT POWER!