11 Tips to Help Manage Appetite Loss

Breast cancer is a serious disease that can affect anyone. After being diagnosed with cancer, treatment is the next step on your journey. There are several treatment options to address breast cancer, such as radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. But those treatments can cause side effects and losing your appetite can be one of them.

Here are some useful tips to help you regain your appetite, even if you’re still going through treatment.


1. Experiment With Food

Patients who suffer from breast cancer often experience appetite loss, which can include disliking foods that previously enjoyed. One way to address this is to try new foods (foods which differ from what would normally be eaten) while feeling good to avoid developing more food dislikes.

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2. Eat Before Treatments

One of the problems is that patients often experience nausea or vomiting after treatment. To balance this, it’s recommended patients eat a light meal several hours before treatment. This can prevent these symptoms and avoid food aversions.

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3.  Eat Food Cooked by Others

Asking other people to cook, eating prepared foods from a store, or ordering take-out can help patients who cannot stand cooking smells. Patients are also less inclined to eat if they have to cook for themselves when they are feeling unwell or are low on energy, so having someone else prepare the meal or pick up food for them can counteract this.

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4. Eat Cold Foods

Cold foods have less of a smell, which can make them more enjoyable for patients with breast cancer and help prevent food aversions. Try to add foods like yogurt, cottage cheese or sandwiches to patients’ daily menus.

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5. Eat With Plastic Utensils

After treatment, breast cancer patients can often detect a taste of metal in their mouth, particularly while eating. To avoid this problem patients can use plastic utensils instead of metal ones.

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6. Cleanse the Palate Before Eating

Rinsing the mouth with tea, ginger ale, salted water or baking soda dissolved in water can help cleanse the palate and clear the taste buds. When done before a meal, it can help breast cancer patients eat better and easier. Some patients also find sucking ice chips in between bites of food helpful, which numbs the taste buds and helps them eat more easily.

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7. Don’t Force Any Food

If eating doesn’t feel or taste good, the best thing is not to force it. Instead of forcing something down that tastes bad, try to seek substitutions that are better tolerated. Forcing food can lead to nausea, vomiting or food aversions.

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8. Eat Less and More Frequently

Instead of trying to eat heavily during the main meals, patients may find it helpful to eat smaller amounts but more frequently. That way, breast cancer patients may find it easier to eat more without noticing or feeling too full.

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9. Have Snacks on Hand

If eating requires a lot of effort, patients may not be willing to do so and may end up not eating enough. To avoid this, it’s important to keep snacks on hand so the patient can eat whenever they feel like it. Cheese and crackers, muffins, peanut butter, and fruit are some great easy-to-eat snacks.

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10. Don’t Wait for Hunger

Loss of appetite may also mean that breast cancer patients just don’t feel hungry. Therefore, it’s important that patients don’t wait until they are hungry to eat. Eating is an important part of the fight against breast cancer, and internalizing this may help. Try to eat, even if it’s just small amounts, and schedule times of the day to eat regularly.

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11. Add Protein Supplements

Adding a liquid protein supplement to patients’ daily menu can help breast cancer patients who have difficulty getting enough of the crucial nutrient. These supplements can be mixed into smoothies or juices, yogurts, or soups. There are many commercial products available, but patients should ask their physician or dietitian for a recommendation.

Did you know that breast cancer patients who receive nutritional education can lower their cancer recurrence rates?

Breast Cancer News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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