Nutrition Tips

5 Quick Nutrition Tips for Pancreatic Cancer

nutritious food

Note: These tips are for informational purposes only. They are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Talk to your healthcare team for nutritional advice or to ask specific questions you have about managing your condition or that of a loved one.

Good nutrition is important for people with pancreatic cancer, especially because the cancer as well as treatment can affect appetite. See below for some tips to be mindful of for yourself or your loved one.

1. Consume small, frequent meals

Try to consume a small portion of food every 1-3 hours, as you are able. This is especially important if you have had surgery for your pancreatic cancer, because your body is learning how to digest food again. It is helpful to eat more frequently and in smaller quantities to allow your body to more easily adapt to digesting after surgery.

2. Separate food and beverages

Wait 30-60 minutes after eating solid foods to have a beverage. This can help prevent nausea and keep you from filling up on lower calorie beverages that lack nutritional value.

3. Be sure to eat slowly

Eating too quickly can contribute to digestive discomfort. Small, frequent meals are important to promote better digestion and allow your body to handle small amounts of food at a time.

4. Keep a food diary

Keeping a food diary is very helpful for anyone who is experiencing digestive symptoms, especially people who have undergone pancreatic surgery.

A food diary may help you to assess your tolerance of a new food or meal and identify those that may be triggering pain, discomfort, or indigestion.

Everyone’s body may have different sensitivities to various foods. It is important to slowly introduce one new food at a time and assess your own individual tolerance. Be sure to communicate with your healthcare team if you experience anything unusual.

5. Talk to your doctor about getting help for nutritional needs

It may help to seek the advice of a registered dietitian to help ensure that you are able to meet your nutritional requirements during and after cancer treatment.

These nutritional tips were developed by registered dietitians who are board-certified specialists in oncology nutrition affiliated with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and Savor Health.