Eating well after a cancer diagnosis

During cancer treatment and recovery, you may need to adapt what you eat to cope with your body’s changing needs.

Learn more about eating well:


Preparing for treatment

  • Once you have been diagnosed with cancer, try to eat as well as you can before starting treatment.
  • Eat a variety of foods and do some physical activity to build muscle (if you are feeling well enough).
  • If you have lost weight and/or you are not eating as well as usual, you may need food with more energy (kilojoules) and protein.
  • Ask your general practitioner (GP) or oncologist for a referral to a dietitian for advice about diet. You can also be referred to other health professionals, such as physiotherapists, exercise physiologists and psychologists. These health professionals can work together to help prepare you for cancer treatment.

During treatment

  • You may need food with more energy (kilojoules) and protein. If you don’t have much appetite, eat small, frequent meals or snacks, rather than three large meals a day.
  • If treatment affects what you can eat, see these tips. If you are losing weight. Ask for a referral to a dietitian if weight loss is ongoing or rapid.
  • Do regular physical activity to improve appetite and mood, reduce fatigue, help digestion and prevent constipation. A physiotherapist or exercise physiologist can help you develop an exercise plan.
  • Check with your doctor or dietitian before taking vitamin or mineral supplements or making major changes to your diet.

After treatment

  • Try to maintain your weight to speed up recovery.
  • Eat a variety of foods and do some physical activity to rebuild muscle and recover from the side effects of cancer treatment. You can ask to see a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist for help developing an exercise plan.
  • If you continue to experience treatment side effects that affect what you can eat, see these suggestions. You can also talk to a dietitian for further assistance.

Recovery

  • Focus on healthy eating once you’ve recovered from the side effects of treatment. For more on this, see general healthy eating guidelines.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active to help lower the chance of cancer coming back. Go here for information on physical activity guidelines for adults.
  • Visit your doctor for regular check-ups.

For more on this, see Living well after cancer.


Living with advanced cancer

  • Good nutrition can improve quality of life.
  • Adjust food choices and eating patterns to meet your changing nutritional needs.
  • Talk to your doctor about medicines that may boost appetite.
  • Relax usual dietary restrictions, e.g. use full-cream rather than low-fat milk.
  • Consider nutritional supplements if you can’t eat enough. Discuss options with your doctor, palliative care specialist or dietitian. For more on this, see Nutrition and advanced cancer.

Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on nutrition and cancer.


Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.


This information was last reviewed in May 2019
View who reviewed this content
View our editorial policy

Support services

Exercise and cancer
Exercise has many benefits both during and after cancer treatment, helping with side effects, speeding up recovery, and improving quality of life

Need legal and financial assistance?
Pro bono services, financial and legal assistance, and no interest loans

Cancer information

What is cancer?
How cancer starts and spreads

Relaxation and meditation
Learn how relaxation and mediation can help you both during and after cancer treatment, or listen to our relaxation and meditation audio tracks

SHARE
TOP BACK TO TOP