Tips for living with mBC
Having cancer can trigger many emotions, such as shock, disbelief, and fear. These emotions are normal. If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, talk with your health care team. Counseling and support groups can also be useful.
A healthy diet is very important during treatment. People with cancer may need to follow diets that require them to eat enough in order to keep up their strength. Before making any changes to your diet, be sure to talk to your health care provider.
Eat a healthy diet
consisting of grains, 2 cups of colorful fruits and 3 cups of colorful vegetables per day, dairy, and protein-rich foods like chicken, fish, or beans.
Eat small snacks throughout the day
if you are unable to eat normal meals.
with plenty of water or other liquids.
Meet with a Registered Dietician (RD) or nutritionist
who can work with you to develop an eating plan.
Keep a food journal
to help you understand and manage your symptoms. Write down what food you ate and how you felt, and your RD can help you adjust your diet according to this information.
Symptoms and Food
mBC treatment can affect your ability to eat and the way your body deals with food. It can change the way food tastes or smells. It can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and/or fatigue. Ask your health care team about which types of nutrition are right for you. Here are some tips:
- Eating proteins such as chicken, fish, or beans, as well as small, healthy snacks throughout the day may help if you feel fatigued
- The BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) may help with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- High-fiber foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts may help with constipation
Weight Loss and Gain
mBC treatment may affect your weight. Consider working together with your doctor and RD to adjust your diet and keep track of any weight changes. Eating certain foods may help keep your weight stable during treatment.
If you are losing weight, consider adding calories and proteins:
- Add grated or melted cheese to potatoes, meats, vegetables, etc
- Add granola or nuts to ice cream
- Add cooked meats to salads and omelettes
- Eat tofu, beans, and hummus (check out this recipe for a wrap)
- Use butter, margarine, or oils
- Eat pastas with cream sauce
If you are gaining weight, consider nutritious, low-calorie foods:
- Experiment with different salads
(check out this recipe for butternut squash and bean salad)
- Steam vegetables
(check out this recipe for steamed sesame broccoli)
- Limit sugar intake
- Drink lots of water
ADDITIONAL INFO FOR PATIENTS AND CAREGIVERS
Just as important as your physical well-being is your emotional well-being. It is common for cancer patients to experience stress, anxiety, and even depression. Take steps to keep yourself feeling mentally healthy.
- Allow yourself time to pause and regroup
- Talk to your health care team about ways you may be able to stay active
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule
- Spend time with friends and family, people who make you feel good
- Focus on things you can control
Managing the stresses of living with mBC
Having cancer can trigger many emotions, such as shock, disbelief, and fear. These emotions are normal. If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, talk with your health care team. There are medicines that can help. Counseling and support groups can also be useful.
Many people start feeling anxious before being given a medical scan or test. This feeling is completely normal. If these emotions become overwhelming, talk to your health care team about what might help.
INFO FOR CAREGIVERS
It can be difficult to see a loved one go through cancer treatment. There are ways that you can help.
- Take on things that are stressful to your loved one, like navigating insurance, or providing food and transportation
- Accompany them to their appointments
- Bring things like books, magazines, pillows, and blankets to treatment sessions
You might feel that your loved one’s needs are more important than your own during treatment, but make sure that you take care of yourself too. If your well-being takes a backseat, you won't be able to fully be there to help your loved one. Take moments for yourself and be sure to reach out to friends and family for help if you need it.