Dealing with neck cancer can be challenging, and maintaining a proper diet is crucial for supporting your health while going through cancer treatment during this difficult time. Treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy can affect the patient’s health. A well-balanced and nutritious diet during this time can not only support this treatment and prevent cancer cells from coming back but also provide the body with the right energy to fight off cancer.
To understand more about a diet that works best for people diagnosed with neck cancer, the OnlyMyHealth team spoke to Shumshum Chowdhury, Dept of Nutrition and Dietetics, HCG EKO Cancer Centre, Kolkata.
Pre-Cancer Treatment Diet Plan
According to statistics presented by the European Institute of Oncology, 26% of all cancers in men were Head and Neck Cancers (HNCs). In comparison, it accounted for 8% of cancer cases in women in 2023.
Chowdhury said, “After the cancer diagnosis, it is advisable to eat a high calorie and high protein diet, particularly till surgery.”
Sharing the daily intake, she listed:
- Daily Calorie Requirement: 30 Kcal- 35 Kcal per kg
- Daily Protein Requirement: 1.2g- 1.5g per kg
She also shared an easy recipe for a nutrient-dense breakfast you can have pre-cancer treatment:
- Serving: 2
- Total calorie count: 190 Kcal
- Total protein count: 12.2 g
- Ingredients: ¼ Cup Oats, 2 Egg White/ Homemade Hung Curd, 2 ml Oil, Mixed herbs, 2 Garlic, Turmeric, Pink Salt, Water
- Method: Heat the oil and add 2 chopped garlic cloves to it. Then add egg whites and saute for 1 minute. To this, add the oats then dry roast for 2 minutes. Now add the rest of the ingredients and serve at room temperature.
Chowdhury also shared what to do in case the nutritional demands of the patient are not met by diet alone, “Then a nutritionist considers what should be the ideal body weight of the patient, and accordingly supplements are prescribed.”
Cancer Treatment Diet Plan
Talking about the burden that cancer treatment can pose on the patient’s well-being, Chowdhury expressed, “Cancer treatment is a long hard process. It involves several therapies that are usually done over days or months, depending on the stage of cancer.
She recommended, “Diet taken during this period should be closely monitored by a nutritionist.”
Sharing the dietary requirements, she suggested that it should mainly be a liquid diet that contains:
- Daily Calorie Requirement: 35 Kcal per kg
- Daily Protein Requirement: 1.5g per kg
She also shared an easy recipe for a calorie-dense soup:
- Serving: 2
- Total calorie count: 235 Kcal
- Total protein count: 6 g
- Ingredients: 1 Carrot, 1 Beetroot, 1 Sweet Potato, 100g Pumpkin, 5 g Butter, Turmeric Powder, Pink Salt, and Cream
- Method: Boil all the vegetables and mash them to make a paste. Then add the rest of the ingredients to the paste. Boil this mixture for another 5 minutes and consume at room temperature.
However, Chowdhury strictly underscored:
- Do not change your diet plans on your own. Consult a dietician for a proper diet plan.
- When undergoing radiation, maintain a food diary from the very first day to monitor your calorie intake.
Chowdhary concluded that while facing neck cancer, maintaining a thoughtful and nourishing diet is a vital component of overall well-being. Tailoring your food choices to address specific challenges and consulting with healthcare professionals can contribute to a healthier and more comfortable journey through treatment. Remember, each person’s experience is unique, so adapting dietary practices to individual needs is essential.